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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 1st (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (24-20) at Indiana Pacers (21-22), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers try and put the brakes on a six-game losing streak this evening when they kick off a seven-game homestand against the Los Angeles Lakers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Indiana's latest loss came on Tuesday in newly-acquired Peja Stojakovic's debut, as the Pacers dropped an 84-79 decision to the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center.

Stojakovic, who will be making his home-debut tonight, had a team-high 17 points on 4-of-10 shooting - including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc - for Indiana, which has dropped seven of eight.

The 6-10 forward was acquired from the Sacramento Kings last Wednesday for disgruntled forward Ron Artest. However, the three-time All-Star watched in street clothes on Friday as his new team was edged by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Fred Jones scored 16 points off the bench and fellow reserve Danny Granger added 13 for a Pacers team that was operating without injured players Jamaal Tinsley (elbow), Jeff Foster (back) and Jermaine O'Neal (groin).

To make matters worse forward Austin Croshere left the game midway through the third quarter with a mild concussion after colliding with Washington's Antawn Jamison. His status for tonight's affair is uncertain.

Indiana, which will also host Detroit, Portland, Golden State, San Antonio, Milwaukee and New Orleans/Oklahoma City on this stand, is 12-7 in its arena this season.

The Lakers, meanwhile, come in on a winning note after Kobe Bryant continued his incredible 2005-06 campaign with 40 points, as Los Angeles routed the New York Knicks, 130-97, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Bryant didn't necessarily feel comfortable with his jump shot so the guard found other ways to score, particularly by attacking the basket and drawing fouls. Bryant finished 23-of-26 from the foul line for the contest, which was a new MSG record for both free throws made and attempted in a single game.

Smush Parker added a backcourt complement to Bryant with a 15-point performance and rookie Andrew Bynum was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor for 16 points, as the Lakers won for the third time in the last four games.

Bryant, who averaged 43.4 points in 13 games last month, joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to average 40 or more points in a month more than once. Bryant averaged 40.6 points in February, 2003.

The Lakers, who are in the midst of a seven-game road trip, are 12-12 away from home this season.

Los Angeles defeated the Pacers earlier in the season and has won nine of 12 and 11 of the last 16 matchups. The Lakers, though, have dropped two straight, four of six and seven of their last 10 in Indiana.

02/01 10:25:29 ET


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