Lakers 85, Pistons 88: March 6 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening road contest at Detroit, the Lakers looking for a ninth win in 11 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, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Pistons: B. Knight, R. Stuckey, T. Prince, J. Maxiell, G. Monroe

12:00 The big news around the Lakers locker room before the game had nothing to do with basketball, but that Bryant was wearing a black mask to protect his nose. Yup, a Black Mamba Mask, which he selected not just because it looks awesome, but because it’s smaller and ideally means less sweat covering his face than the clear mask he wore in the past three games produced.

5:00 It was all Lakers in the first seven minutes, the size of Bynum and Gasol dominating both ends near the rim, and Bryant hitting a deep three and then 1-of-2 free throws to reach 6 points and put L.A. up 16-6.

0:00 A strong first quarter produced a 24-17 lead for the road team, which was in pretty firm control throughout the period. With Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell up front, L.A. was getting many good looks around the rim, and Bynum/Gasol were hitting the offensive glass on misses.

6:00 I know you’re going to be sad … but at least for now, the Black Mask was dead. Kobe came off the bench in the same mask he wore in scoring 34 points per game last week; we can speculate that it wasn’t as comfortable, or secure, or whatever, but he was 1-for-6 in the first, perhaps feeling some discomfort.

3:05 With Kobe struggling to find his range, the Pistons reeled off a big run on the other end, coming from 10 down to take a 42-41 lead on Stuckey’s (12 points) layup, as the crowd crept back into to game. Detroit’s run, in fact, was 17-4.

0:05.5 A really, really poor second quarter for L.A. turned what was a 37-25 lead into a 45-41 halftime deficit. In other words, L.A. scored only four points through considerable chunk of time, while conceding 20 on the other end.

5:29 L.A. held Detroit without a field goal for a full six minutes, finding the intensity with which they started the game, and going on a 10-0 spurt to reclaim the lead. Bynum and Gasol were both dominant, keeping Greg Monroe to two points on 1-of-10 FG’s, and being one Gasol rebound from sharing more double-doubles. Bynum had 17 and 11 with two blocks, Gasol 16 and nine with three swats.

0:00 L.A.’s lead was seven after an impressive third quarter in which Detroit managed only nine points against an aggressive Lakers defense, the Pistons dropping to 33 percent from the field against the NBA’s top field goal defense.

8:00 But just like we saw in the second quarter, L.A.’s bench couldn’t sustain the lead, allowing a 9-0 run that had the Pistons up 67-63. Mike Brown’s response? Put the starters back in.

4:43 And that worked. Still doing damage inside, L.A. got buckets from both Bynum and Gasol to tie the game at 69. Bryant, really struggling from the field all night at just 6-for-20, did get a wing three to go to put the Lakers back into the lead.

0:00 Black Mamba. Struggling with his shot all night didn’t keep Bryant from draining a game-tying jumper as the buzzer sounded, sending us into overtime. Detroit thought it had the game won when Stuckey hit a three-pointer moments earlier to put Detroit up 78-76, but Kobe hit from one of his favorite spots, the right elbow, fading away.

2:56 An and-1 layup from Bynum (30 points, 14 rebounds) put L.A. up three, but Detroit kept scoring, getting hoops from Stuckey and Prince to make Gasol’s jumper moments later necessary to put L.A. back in front. However…

36.8 …With Mike Brown pleading for an offensive foul, Gasol was called for fouling a driving Stuckey, and two free throws put the Pistons up 88-85.

0:06 Bryant missed a three early in the shot clock, but left enough time on the clock to let the Lakers get a defensive stop, and the ball back with eight seconds left. The Pistons took their foul to give, trimming two seconds off the clock, and World Peace inbounded to Bryant. Kobe shot right away, but was well short on his attempt, allowing a loose ball to be tipped out to World Peace. He spun and tried a game-tying three himself, but that just missed, spelling a tough loss for the Lakers. The bench was only 2-for-12, its worst effort in a long spell, which may have been the difference in the game as Detroit got 32 points from its second unit. No time to think about it, however, as L.A. is back in action against Washington tomorrow night. See you there.