Below is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest in Detroit as the Lakers looked to win back-to-back road games, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Pistons: Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Ben Wallace
8:50 Before the tip, Eminem’s “Trick Trick” (featuring the line “Welcome to Detroit City”) was blasting over the loud speakers, but it seemed to work better for the visitors, as Kobe Bryant nailed two threes amidst a 10-0 run that made it 11-2 into a Pistons time out.
2:20 Detroit found some offense, scoring 17 points in the next six minutes, but L.A. hadn’t slowed down either in taking a 27-19 lead on Bryant’s baseline jumper off a Gasol near miss. Bryant and Fisher then went out in favor of Blake and Barnes, the latter of whom immediately buried a triple for a 11-point lead. Detroit pulled a basket back, but a pretty professional quarter for the Lakers ended with a 34-25 edge.
9:50 Though L.A.’s bench crew of Blake, Barnes, Brown and Walton (plus Gasol) conceded an early Pistons run, it wasn’t for lack of effort. Four Lakers got back on what should have been a routine transition layup for Detroit off a turnover, but instead L.A. cleared a defensive board after a contest.
4:51 Kobe’s legs looked great against the Bucks, and he didn’t lose a step here in Detroit, as shown by consecutive forays into the paint off nice up-fakes. He added a fadeaway from the baseline and a twisting drive to reach eight field goal makes in 11 attempts, reaching 24 points to lead L.A. to a 55-43 advantage.
0:00 L.A. tacked on two more points to its lead courtesy of Gasol (14 points) to take a 59-45 lead, looking firmly in control of the contest after 24 minutes. They were shooting the ball like Tiger Woods might put into a basketball hoop, making 57 percent from the field, 71 percent from three and 93 percent from the line.
5:51 It was coming so easily for the Lakers that the Pistons barely reacted after Odom’s behind-the-back assist to Gasol, plus the foul, made it 76-50 for the visitors. Moments later, a Bryant three-pointer pushed the lead to 26, and got him to 32 points on 11-of-18 field goals, including four triples.
2:40 The Spaniard prides himself on being an efficient player, and could be seen yelling at himself for missing three shots near the rim on consecutive possessions. Nonetheless, Gasol grabbed his first miss both times, and stuck the second one back in to reach 23 points with 12 boards in 30 minutes of action with L.A. up 80-56. He’d add another bucket, coming to within five points of giving the Lakers two 30-point scorers for the first time since March 1, 2009, when Bryant had 49 and Gasol 30. At the break, L.A. led 84-63, meaning Gasol may not have the chance to get up to 30 if L.A.’s bench could protect the lead to Phil Jackson’s content.
6:04 In limited minutes this season, we’ve already seen a few SportsCenter worthy dunks from rookie Devin Ebanks, who added another on a two-handed follow-up jam off Brown’s missed layup, putting L.A. up 95-71 in game in which Bryant had been icing his knees. In fact, the most interesting part of the fourth quarter was watching Gasol, Odom, Bryant and Artest joke around on the bench, including multiple arm-around hugs, smiles and headlocks.
1:26 Not that it mattered, but the Pistons managed to cut L.A.’s lead down to 11 at one point before the final whistle buzzed with the Lakers up 103-90. That’s four road wins in five tries heading into Friday’s game in Minnesota.