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Pacers win Peja's home debut, beat Lakers to snap skid

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- It took two games for Peja Stojakovic's new teammates to start comparing him to Reggie Miller.

Stojakovic had 26 points and 13 rebounds in his home debut and the Indiana Pacers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 105-79 on Wednesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Pacers held Kobe Bryant to 26 points, 10 below his average, to snap a string of eight straight games of at least 30.

Stojakovic, acquired from Sacramento in last week's trade for Ron Artest, was 9-for-19 from the field, including 5-of-11 on 3-pointers. His quick release, high-arching shot and point production had the Pacers thinking about Miller, the sharpshooter who retired after last season.

"It kind of reminded me of having Reggie again, with him coming off the screens and looking for the ball," Indiana center Jeff Foster said.

"Some of those rainbows coming out of the clouds were reminiscent of Reggie," said Indiana guard Anthony Johnson, "but Reggie was Reggie. Peja has his own style."

Stojakovic played 26 minutes in his Indiana debut Tuesday at Washington, but that increased to 41 against the Lakers. Indiana outrebounded the Lakers 55-43 and reached the century mark in scoring for the first time since Jan. 11.

Bryant, the league's leading scorer, had 45 points against the Pacers in a Los Angeles win on Jan. 9 but shot 8-for-24 on Wednesday.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle was never fully comfortable with Bryant in the game. He knew that Bryant scored 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, including 55 in the second half.

"It's like inviting an assassin to a gathering of living presidents," Carlisle said. "You know he can score a zillion points. I have the utmost respect for Kobe Bryant. He competes at the highest of the highest echelon."

The Pacers knew Bryant would score, but they wanted to make it uncomfortable for him.

"We were aware of his every whereabouts," Johnson said. "He likes to make his moves in transition. We had three or four guys back every time. We took Kobe out of his sweet spots by running guys at him, and their other guys never got going."

The Lakers shot 31 percent from the floor and needed two late baskets to avoid their lowest field-goal percentage in franchise history. The poor shooting came a night after the Lakers scored 130 in a win at New York.

"We didn't hit any shots tonight," Bryant said. "And last night, it seemed like we were hitting every shot we took."

The rest of the Lakers shot 13-for-41 from the field.

"I've been double-teamed like I was tonight before, so that's nothing we haven't seen," Bryant said. "But I'm beginning to think that this is the formula for playing us, and other guys are just going to have to step up and make their shots."

Fred Jones scored 16 points, Foster had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Danny Granger added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers.

Brian Cook scored 12 points and Lamar Odom and Chris Mihm each added 10 for the Lakers.

Indiana guard Stephen Jackson went down hard on a drive to the hoop late in the second quarter. He was taken to a hospital and did not return. He was diagnosed with a hip contusion and elbow
abrasion but had no fractures.

The Pacers hit three 3-pointers in the last 1:40 of the first half during a 12-3 run to take a 52-37 halftime lead. Stojakovic had 13 points and eight rebounds at the break.

Bryant scored 13 points after going 5-of-13 in the first half. The Lakers were just 5-for-20 in the second quarter and shot 31 percent in the first half. At one point, the Lakers missed 11 consecutive shots in the second period.

While the Lakers struggled, the Pacers made 10 of their last 12 shots in the first half and shot 51 percent from the field before the break.

Stojakovic scored 10 points in the third quarter to help the Pacers extend their lead to 82-62 heading into the fourth.

Indiana shot 9-for-23 from 3-point range a day after going 9-of-32 against Washington.

Game notes
Pacers starters Austin Croshere, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley missed the game with injuries. ... Bryant is in a bit of a shooting slump. Since his 81-point game against Toronto on Jan. 22, he has made 34-of-91 shots.