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Reply To: NBA • Sunday Service Plays • 11/29/15

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Preview: Indiana At L.A. Lakers

When: 9:30 PM ET, Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The Indiana Pacers square off against old friend Roy Hibbert for the first time when they begin a four-game road trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Hibbert, a 7-2 center who is averaging 8.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and a team-best 2.1 blocks in his first season with Los Angeles, played his first seven years with Indiana before the Pacers decided he wouldn’t be a good fit in their up-tempo offense and shipped him to the Lakers during the offseason.

Indiana is riding a four-game winning streak and has won seven of its last eight contests and 10 of 12 following a 104-92 victory over Chicago on Friday as forward Paul George scored 33 points — one game after recording a season-high 40 in a 123-106 victory over Washington on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant played 34 minutes and scored 21 points in Los Angeles’ 108-96 loss in Portland on Saturday, leaving the 37-year-old’s availability in question for Sunday. “(Saturday) we’ll play him,” Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters after Friday’s practice. “Then we’ll see how he looks for Sunday.” Bryant has played in all but three games this season, but sat out back-to-back contests in Florida last month and didn’t play Nov. 16 in the back end of Los Angeles’ second consecutive-game set of the season.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE PACERS (10-5): Indiana seems to be using two players to replace Hibbert in the pivot as Jordan Hill averages 9.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24.1 minutes while Ian Mahinmi’s numbers (7.3, 6.7, 24.2) are similar. Hill, who averaged 9.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in 178 career games with the Lakers before being signed as a free agent during the offseason, did not play Friday because of a sore lower back and is questionable to play Sunday. George is fourth in the NBA in scoring at 26.4 points per game while forward C.J. Miles (15.9 points) has averaged 21.6 over his last five games.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (2-13): Rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell played a season-high 38 minutes Saturday and recorded 16 points, five assists and four rebounds as he continues to show why Los Angeles made him the second overall pick in June’s draft. Bryant was 7-for-20 from the field Saturday to raise his field goal percentage to .315, which is on pace to be a career low after shooting .375 last season — his worst number since .417 in his rookie season of 1996-97. Lakers guard Lou Williams (12.3 points per game) missed Saturday’s game because of personal reasons and Scott said he would likely miss Sunday’s contest as well.


1. The Pacers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest points at 95.1 per game, are off Monday and Tuesday before playing the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

2. The Lakers recorded 20 assists against nine turnovers versus Portland despite entering Saturday second-worst in turnover differential at plus-3.2, while the Pacers were third-best at minus-2.3.

3. The teams split two meetings last season as Bryant scored 21 points in a 110-91 loss at Indiana and hit the game-winning jumper with 12.4 seconds left in an 88-87 victory at Los Angeles.

PREDICTION: Pacers 101, Lakers 95