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- Despite missing the morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will start tonight when L.A. hosts Indiana at Staples Center. Bryant leads the NBA in scoring at 26.9 points a game and is shooting 51 percent from the floor. He has never shot better than 47 percent in any of his previous 16 seasons in the NBA. Paul George gets the assignment of guarding Bryant at the start, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
- The Lakers will not have the services of point guards Steve Nash (fractured fibula) and Steve Blake (abdominal strain). Nash has been sidelined since the second game of the season. Blake has missed the last six games. One or both could possibly be ready when L.A. hosts the Nuggets on Friday, coach Mike D’Antoni said. In the meantime, Darius Morris will continue to start at point guard.
- The Pacers have been off since blowing a 17-point lead Friday night against visiting San Antonio and losing 104-97. Indiana missed its final 11 field-goal attempts. Rebounding could be a key against the Lakers. The Pacers finished in the top five in the league in rebounding the last two seasons and sit at No. 1 heading into tonight’s game at 48.4 a game. The Lakers, meanwhile, are limiting opponents to a league-low 39 rebounds a game.
- The Lakers and their up-tempo offense will face another defensive-minded opponent in the Pacers. Indiana is allowing the fourth-fewest points per game (92.2) this season. The Lakers scored 95 points in a five-point win Nov. 20 against Brooklyn, which is holding opponents to a league-low 91.3 points. They scored 98 in an eight-point loss Friday against Memphis, which is allowing the second-fewest points (91.8). Indiana’s defense has slipped a bit of late, however, allowing more than 100 points in its last two games, the only time the defense has yielded triple digits this season.