Pacers top Lakers 107-103 on night Kobe announces he’ll retire
LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored 13 points on 4-of-20 shooting after declaring he will retire at the end of the season, and the Indiana Pacers hung on to send his Los Angeles Lakers to their sixth consecutive defeat, 107-103 Sunday night.
Paul George scored the Pacers’ final 11 points in the last 1:27, finishing with 39 as Indiana opened a four-game West Coast road trip with its fifth straight victory despite blowing all but one point of a 22-point lead.
Bryant overcame another poor shooting night with two big late jumpers that reflected his vintage offensive skills. His quick-release 3-pointer from straightaway with 11 seconds left trimmed Indiana’s lead to 104-103.
But after the Lakers got the ball back with a three-point deficit, Bryant shot an airball on a 3-pointer.
Bryant announced earlier in the day that his 20th season will be his last with the Lakers, who are off to a 2-14 start. Fans at Staples Center received letters of thanks from Bryant, the Lakers’ career scoring leader and a five-time NBA champion.
Bryant intends to play out the season, but the third-leading scorer in league history had another regrettable night of shooting mixed with moments of his old brilliance. He missed his first six shots and went 2 for 15 in the first half, but his late 3-pointer trimmed Indiana’s lead to 98-92.
Jordan Clarkson had 22 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for the Lakers. Nick Young hit six 3-pointers while scoring 22 points.
After trailing from the opening minutes, Los Angeles opened the fourth quarter with a 16-7 run. Bryant hit his first 3-pointer in five attempts with 1:19 to play, but George carried the Pacers with nine free throws in the last 1:07.
Bryant and the Lakers responded to the retirement announcement with one of their worst halves in a season full of ineptitude for both the superstar and his teammates. Los Angeles made just 11 of its 49 shots in the first half.
Lakers center Roy Hibbert had eight points and nine rebounds in his first meeting with his former teammates. The 7-footer spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Pacers, making two All-Star teams before leaving town last summer.
Indiana big man Jordan Hill had six points and 10 rebounds in his first game back to face the Lakers. He spent 178 games with Los Angeles over the last four seasons before leaving as a free agent. He appeared in 12 playoff games in 2012.
Pacers: Indiana wore its Hickory High alternate uniforms made famous in "Hoosiers" for the Hollywood road game. … The Pacers went 11-2 in November.
Lakers: Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, and daughters Natalia and Gianna watched from courtside seats. … Bryant is 18 for 76 in his last four games.
Pacers: At Clippers on Wednesday.
Lakers: At Philadelphia on Tuesday. L.A. begins an eight-game road trip in Bryant’s former hometown.