LOS ANGELES—January 4, 2011: With the way the Los Angeles Lakers have been playing as of late, watching a sub-.500 team beat the two-time defending champions has lost some of its luster. Their last two home losses against a sub-500 team have been 19-point blowouts. It’s like seeing David beat Goliath for the fifth time in a row.
In came the visiting Detroit Pistons with an 11-23 overall record, including a 3-15 record on the road—all the makings of another David versus Goliath matchup. This time around, David forgot to bring his slingshot, as the Lakers routed the Pistons 108-83.
With a lay-in off the dribble at the 6:43 mark of the third quarter, Kobe Bryant got his 15th point, which directed him past “The Human Highlight Film,” Dominique Wilkins, for the 10th spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“I didn’t really know what the hell was going on, but it’s a great honor,” said Bryant, who was unaware of reaching that scoring milestone. “I don’t know what to say, it’s pretty cool.”
“It’s another credit, another notch on his belt sort of speak in his long, storied career,” added Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.
Bryant was only 4-for-15 with nine points in the first half, but cranked it up (not screwed it up) in the third quarter, finishing with 17 points on 6-for-18 shooting and eight assists. His services in the fourth quarter wouldn’t be necessary.
The Lakers ended the first half with a scant 45-42 lead even though they weren’t exactly shooting the ball lights out at 41 percent. Their early energy that won them the first quarter, 24-19, evaporated in the second quarter, allowing the Pistons to creep back into the game after being up by as much as 10.
“I didn’t like the way we closed out the first half,” said Coach Jackson.
However, the Lakers cranked up (not screwed up) the defense in the second half.
The Pistons found themselves down by 17 as the Lakers opened up the third quarter with a 14-6 run. A steal by Ron Artest followed by a two-handed dunk put the Lakers up 20 with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“We came out in the third quarter with the kind of energy we’d like to see this team play with,” said Coach Jackson. “Made some defensive stops and got them some things rolling.”
An 18-6 run to start the fourth quarter gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the game, 29, which put the game out of reach for the Pistons. From that point on, the only excitement that could be had was a rare technical foul on Lakers forward Luke Walton for taunting.
“We just came out really, really hard in the second half establishing ourselves, setting the tone really well offensively and defensively,” said Lakers forward Pau Gasol. “Really good energy and really good execution.”
Gasol tallied 21 points and seven rebounds. Lamar Odom provided 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Tracy McGrady, who has been logging in minutes at point guard as of late, had 14 points and six assists for the Pistons. Greg Monroe had 14 points and 11 rebounds off the Pistons bench.
The Lakers were the exact opposite of the 20-turnover, 13-assist team against the Memphis Grizzlies the other night. Tonight, they racked up 29 assists and only turned the ball over six times.
Next up, the Lakers pay a visit to Phoenix, Arizona where they will face the Suns and their retooled roster. Game time for that contest begins at 7:30 p.m. PT.