Lakers Pound Pacers 122-99 for Third Straight Win

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LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored
24 points, hitting 14 of 15 free throws, and the Los Angeles Lakers
pulled away with a dominating third-quarter run for a 122-99 victory
over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

Andrew Bynum added 16 points and Pau
Gasol
had 14 points and 16 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who
fell behind early before improving to 14-0 against the Pacers at
Staples Center.

Jordan Farmar scored 19 points,
including 10 in the fourth when he ran the offense while Bryant rested
his myriad of injuries.

The Lakers won their third in a row
heading into a stretch of three road games in four days, capped by
Sunday's contest at Orlando.

Troy Murphy had 17 points and 13
rebounds, Dahntay Jones scored 16 points, Josh McRoberts had 15 and Earl
Watson
finished with 10 assists for the Pacers. They dropped to 7-24 on
the road and have lost eight of their last 10 overall.

Bryant nearly matched his career
average of 24.9 points against Indiana, though most of his offense came
at the line. He was just 5-of-14 from the field, missing all four of his
3-point attempts.

Bryant hit a 21-foot fadeaway to beat
the halftime buzzer, keeping Los Angeles ahead 60-54.

That momentum carried into the third,
when the Pacers closed to 62-61 before the Lakers took over. They went
on a 35-10 run that produced a 98-71 lead heading into the fourth.

Derek Fisher's 3-pointer gave the
Lakers the game's first double-digit lead, 75-65. Ron Artest and Lamar
Odom
hit consecutive 3-pointers, then Shannon Brown made two straight 3s
before Farmar capped the burst with a fast-break slam dunk.

The Pacers dissolved in a series of
miscues, with their seven turnovers leading to 10 points. Bynum and
Brown came up with big blocked shots, too. Indiana's offense broke down,
with the Pacers making 7-of-20 shots in the quarter.

Fans began pouring out of Staples
with nearly 6 minutes remaining. During a timeout, Odom and Gasol gazed
at the overhead scoreboard checking out other NBA scores. Bryant spent
the rest of the game on the bench along with the other starters.

After trailing most of the opening
quarter, the Lakers got a boost from Brown, Farmar and Adam Morrison in
the second. Their early scoring put the Lakers back in front, and Gasol
and Bryant kept them there with eight points apiece.

Still, the Pacers were better at the
line and from 3-point range in the first half, with Murphy already
exceeding his scoring average by the break.

Notes
The Pacers haven't beaten the
Lakers in Los Angeles since Feb. 14, 1999, when the Lakers still played
at the Forum. … The Lakers' 14-0 mark at Staples includes three
playoff wins against Indiana. … Los Angeles reached 100 points for the
first time since defeating Golden State 104-94 on Feb. 16.

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