By Kevin R. Linares
Kobe Bryant played 12 minutes and struggled before sitting out the rest of the game. With the questions surrounding how the Lakers would play without their star were answered tonight as they beat the Indiana Pacers in Indiana 99 to 93. “If we want to win we need guys to step up” is what Steve Blake said after the game and that is exactly what he did in today’s game.
Steve Blake had 18 points, dished out 7 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench. Antawn Jamison also had a big game off the bench scoring 17 points. From the starters Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Metta World peace were solid scoring all scoring in double digits. Dwight Howard had 20 points, World Peace 19 and Nash added 15 points.
Kobe, at first, was not expected to play but as the game came closer it was a game time decisio. He eventually did play in the game. The importance of the victory today is that the team was able to get a big road win against a very good team in the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers currently hold the 2nd playoffs spot in the East trailing the Miami Heat. With the win, the Lakers are sitting at the 8th spot, a game ahead of the Utah Jazz and 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets.
Pau Gasol is having a good recovery and is feeling good enough to maybe return to the line up on Sunday or Monday. Gasol has not played since Febuary 5th due to his foot injury. There is still the question of when Kobe will be healthy enough to play a full game after attempting to play today. Kobe needs to rest and take a few days off, meanwhile the rest of the team can look to build the their chemistry. During the game Bryant did show some of his coaching abilities as he had the clip board in hand giving advice to his teammates. The Lakers take the floor again on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center.