Lakers 108, Pistons 83: Jan. 4 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday night game against Detroit as the Lakers looked to get back in the win column, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Pistons: B. Gordon, T. McGrady, T. Prince, C. Villanueva, B. Wallace

FIRST QUARTER
6:43 The steady of improvement of Andrew Bynum continued early in Tuesday’s game, as the 7-footer made his first four shots, all in close, to reach eight points for the Lakers. Pistons center Ben Wallace simply couldn’t deal with Bynum’s length, but the 23-year-old did pick up his second foul moments later, bringing Lamar Odom into the contest. Bynum has been working with assistant coach Chuck Person on establishing low-post position particularly on the weak side of the floor when the ball is on the strong side, and is seeing fruitful results despite minimal field goal attempts.

2:00 While Bryant couldn’t get his shot to fall, missing his first five attempts, he was effective in full-on dish mode. His fifth assist of the period came on a pretty drop off pass to Gasol, as the Lakers amassed 18 points in the paint much to their coaches’ pleasure.

0:00 The Lakers finished the first quarter with a 24-19 lead despite shooting only 38.5 percent, thanks largely to their six offensive rebounds and zero turnovers. That allowed the Lakers to attempt twice as many shots, making Detroit’s 53.8 percent shooting matter little. It was a solid all-around quarter of basketball despite the poor shooting from Bryant in particular (0-for-9, with several shots rimming out) after one of the more interesting pregame sessions we’ve had this year, featuring Phil Jackson addressing a practice confrontation with Ron Artest and Mark Cuban’s calling Jackson Lakers VP Jeanie Buss’s “Boy Toy.”

SECOND QUARTER
10:56 Bynum didn’t have a chance to carry his early rhythm from the first quarter into the second, as he picked up his third personal foul almost immediately and went to the bench for the rest of the half. Get ready for big minutes from Pau Gasol…

9:22 Gasol, who’d finish the half with 13 points and six rebounds, both highs for the game, put the Lakers up 10 by converting two free throws. The Spaniard’s production from a scoring standpoint has been down of late, mostly because he took nine shots or fewer in three of the team’s previous five games, three of which were losses. He took eight in the first half, making five, a good indicator that L.A. was focusing on getting Gasol more opportunities.

1:47 The Lakers finally turned the ball over for the first time, but then forced Detroit’s ninth TO on the opposite end in a game they still controlled, leading 43-37. The Pistons trimmed that lead in half at the break (45-42), using Rip Hamilton’s second three off the bench of the period to stay within range.

THIRD QUARTER
10:30 Artest hit the first shot of the game, a three from the corner, and added the first shot of the second half by dropping another triple. Derek Fisher followed with one of his own, his first make of the game, to put the Lakers up nine points.

6:43 With the Lakers up comfortably, we saw a moment of NBA history, on a driving hoop through traffic as Kobe Bryant became the NBA’s 10th all-time leading scorer with 26,668 career points, surpassing Dominique Wilkins. Earlier this season, Bryant surpassed John Havlicek for 11th, and if he continues at his current scoring pace, he’ll move all the way up to 6th on the all-time list.

0:28.5 Artest concluded a terrific quarter for the Lakers with a fastbreak dunk off his steal, producing a 31-17 edge in the period to take command of the game with a 17-point lead. Bryant reached 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Gasol 21 points with seven assists to pace the home team.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:09 During Monday’s practice, Phil Jackson put his players through a tough running drill known as “82′s”, in which the Lakers have to make 82 layups in a certain number of minutes, otherwise be forced to do the drill again. Apparently, it worked out pretty well, since the Lakers sprinted past Detroit in transition throughout the evening to the tune of a 19-2 edge in fast break points after Steve Blake and Shannon Brown converted three layups in a two-minute stretch, pushing L.A.’s lead to 89-61.

7:00 The lead kept growing, as Odom followed his three-pointer with three free throws after drawing a foul on a three-point attempt, making it a 29-point Lakers lead. Odom checked in with 16 points, seven boards and four assists at that point, while Brown and Blake had combined for 15 bench points of their own.

3:29 Trying to continue to provide some intrigue for the fans in a blow out, Luke Walton sandwiched corner triples around a technical foul presumably for trash talking a few Pistons. The second triple made 102-76, and the Lakers would end up with a 108-83 margin in sweeping the Pistons on the season.

POSTGAME NUMBERS
26,671 Career points for Kobe Bryant, who surpassed Dominique Wilkins for 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with a third quarter layup.

60 Points in the paint for the Lakers, 20 more than Detroit.

29 Assists for the Lakers, showcasing a game of good ball movement. Bryant led the way with eight, while Lamar Odom, Ron Artest and Steve Blake added four apiece.

19 Fast break points for the Lakers, who got out and ran particularly well in the second half, when they amassed 15 of those points.

6 Turnovers in the game for the Lakers, a major improvement in ball control from a sloppy Sunday loss to the Grizzlies (20 turnovers). Meanwhile, L.A. forced 19 Pistons turnovers, and scored 25 points off those mistakes.