Kobe plays sparingly, but Lakers best Pacers
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard posted a double-double and the Lakers received big efforts from Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake off the bench as Los Angeles downed the Indiana Pacers, 99-93, on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Howard came through with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks while Jamison and Blake combined for nine 3-pointers to help the Lakers to their fifth win in six games. Blake finished with 18 points, with Jamison scoring 17.
Kobe Bryant, who was thought to be out indefinitely after severely spraining his ankle in the final seconds of a Wednesday loss to the Atlanta Hawks, miraculously started the contest, but didn't return after playing the entire first quarter. He was held scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting from the field.
The Pacers suffered just their eighth defeat at home this season.
George Hill scored a game-high 27 points on 11-for-19 shooting for Indiana, while Paul George contributed 20 points with nine rebounds.
In a back-and-forth contest, Hill knocked down a short jumper to give Indiana an 85-84 lead with 3:10 remaining, but Blake, Howard and Jamison each had scores during a decisive 10-2 Lakers run put the visitors ahead for good.
Blake buried his fifth triple of the contest and Jamison knocked down his fourth around Howard's three-point play. Jamison then split a pair from the stripe to put Los Angeles on top, 94-87, and the Pacers never came closer than four over the final 40 seconds.
The Pacers jumped out to a 19-8 lead early, but the Lakers stormed back with a 25-6 push to nab an eight-point edge by the later stages of the second quarter.
After Howard scored nine straight points to put Los Angeles ahead, 25-23, Blake sank consecutive 3-pointers before Jamison connected on three from long distance in the midst of scoring 11 straight points and the Lakers took a 46-41 edge into the break.
The Pacers rallied in the third, however, with Hill scoring 10 of his points in the quarter, including a three-point play four minutes through to put Indiana ahead, 54-50.
A triple from Blake with 1:33 to go in the stanza put the Lakers back in front by two, but D.J. Augustin knocked down one of his own a minute later to give the Pacers a 69-68 lead going into the fourth, where neither team led by any more than four until Los Angeles' late surge.
Bryant was held scoreless in a game for just the 15th time in his career ... The Lakers improved to 13-21 on the road this season ... Pacers forward Danny Granger missed his fifth straight game with a knee injury ... The Lakers shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from 3-point range ... Steve Nash had 15 points and nine assists for the Los Angeles ... Lance Stephenson finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.
03/15 22:18:38 ET