The Lakers smothering defense in the fourth quarter and timely shooting helped the team knock out the Detroit Pistons, 103-91—an important victory that should continue the momentum from the Houston victory into this Sunday’s showdown with the Chicago Bulls.
Lamar Odom had his best game of the season for the Lakers, scoring 25 points and pulling down an impressive 15 rebounds. Perhaps, more importantly though, the forward continued to show no ill signs following his comeback from shoulder surgery. The Lakers were fortunate that Odom chose tonight’s game to break out as Kobe Bryant only made six of 18 shots for 19 points, even if his last three field goals did come during a pivotal stretch midway through the fourth quarter where the Lakers took over the game.
As has been the case all season, Jordan Farmar and the second unit excelled once the Lakers starters headed to the bench, igniting the team in the fourth quarter and eventually propelling them to victory. Vladimir Radmanovic, Andrew Bynum and Maurice Evans also played a huge role in tonight’s win with their timely defensive plays and a flurry of momentum-changing layups in the fourth quarter. The STAPLES Center crowd has really seemed to take a liking to the “bench mob,” as dubbed by Odom after the game.
While the Lakers should be pleased with their effort tonight, it was almost in vain as the team gave away a nine point halftime lead to the Chauncey Billupsless Pistons before reclaiming the lead in the fourth. The Bulls will provide a similar test for the Lakers this Sunday in a game filled with intrigue due to the widespread Kobe to Chicago trade speculation a few weeks ago.