LOS ANGELES CA - NOVEMBER 28: Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after making a basket late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 28 2010 in Los Angeles California. The Pacers defeated the Lakers 95-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Pacers Vs. Lakers: Roy Hibbert And Indiana Steal One In Los Angeles, 95-92

Roy Hibbert dominated Pau Gasol as the Indiana Pacers shocked the Los Angeles Lakers 95-92 in LA.

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Pacers Vs. Lakers: Credit Indiana, Or Criticize Los Angeles?

The operative question to come out of last night's surprising 95-92 Indiana Pacers victory over the Los Angeles Lakers is this: did Indiana take the game away from the Lakers, or did Los Angeles give it away with poor play. 

Naturally, it depends on your perspective. For my money, it looked like the former. The Lakers certainly could and should have played better, but I think their poor play occurred in large part due to Indiana's defensive intensity and offensive execution. SB Nation's Pacers blog Indy Cornrows agrees:

The Pacers took it to the Lakers last night and earned that W by out-playing the defending champs. Along the way, thanks to Roy Hibbert, the Pacers exposed the soft middle that the Lakers are playing with while they await Andrew Bynum's return. Pardon me if I don't shed a tear because the Lakers trotted out plenty of talent last night and were simply beaten.    

Lakers fans, however, don't agree with this. SB Nation's Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll said the Pacers "earned" the win, but was also very critical of the Lakers' performance.

Honestly, I thought we were done with games like this. The lack of energy, the refusal to buckle down and execute the offense, the inability to muster enthusiasm against a B-list opponent, the disappearance of the bench, the reckless hope that Kobe Bryant's greatness would allow an uninspired team to steal a victory where it didn't deserve one: tonight's disaster was lifted directly from the 2009 Laker family album. We sat through plenty of these depressing spectacles last year, but the roaring start to the new season that saw the defending champs flatten all who stood in their way had me convinced that this team was different. That it wasn't as vulnerable to lapses in effort and concentration. It seems I gave them too much credit, too early.    

The truth is that it's probably somewhere in the middle. The Pacers played their hearts out, but the Lakers could have still won with a better performance. 

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Pacers Vs. Lakers: Roy Hibbert And Indiana Steals One In Los Angeles, 95-92

The Indiana Pacers have surprised a lot of people in racing off to a .500 start this early in the season. They started to make waves when they dominated the Miami Heat in Miami last Monday. But nothing they have done this year compares to what they were able to accomplish Sunday night.

Led by much-improved center Roy Hibbert, the Pacers went into Los Angeles and stunned the Lakers 95-92. It's only the Lakers' second loss at home this season, and it didn't look like a fluke like their other home loss to Phoenix earlier this year. Whereas Phoenix shot the lights out, the Pacers simply outplayed the Lakers on both ends of the floor. The win improves the Pacers to 8-7, which is good for fifth place in the East, percentage points ahead of Miami.

Hibbert led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, completely outplaying all-world center Pau Gasol. His dunk with under 20 seconds left to play put the Pacers up by three. The Lakers had one last chance to tie the game, and it was a good one, as Kobe Bryant ducked behind a Gasol screen and had a wide open look from beyond the arc. Alas, he missed it, and then missed a desperation heave as time expired.

Bryant had 41 points in a vintage performance down the stretch, singlehandily keeping the Lakers in the game. But he didn't have any help. Gasol struggled, scoring just 13 points on 5-15 shooting, and only one other player (Lamar Odom) was in double figures. Danny Granger added 18 for the Pacers, and T.J. Ford made some big plays down the stretch to seal it.

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