After another shaky first half, the Lakers bounced back in the second, and stormed past the struggling Detroit Pistons 108-83 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
Kobe Bryant scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out eight assists, and in the process became the league’s 10th all-time leading scorer, passing Hall of Famer Dominque Wilkins with 26,671 points. Bryant missed his first nine shots of the game, but rebounded to hit six of his next nine on his record-breaking night.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 21 points, hitting 7-11 from the field, to go along with seven rebounds. Lamar Odom had 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench, and Andrew Bynum, plagued by early foul trouble, finished with 13 points and six rebounds, hitting all six of his shots.
The slumping Pistons stayed close early, rallied from an 11-point first half deficit to close the score to 45-42 at halftime. In the second half, the Lakers put the hammer down and took advantage of 19 Detroit turnovers, to turn a close game into a rout. The Pistons found themselves down by as much as 29 points in the fourth quarter, as they continue to struggle on the road. They are now 3-16 away from the Palace of Auburn Hills.
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The win was a welcomed sight for the Lakers, who have had trouble blowing out even bad teams at home recently. In fact you’d have to go all the way back to December 3rd when the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 113-80 to find a home game they have won by more than 10 points. That win broke a season-long four-game losing streak.
On this night, the Lakers did everything pretty well, for the first time at home in a while. They shot 47.2% (42-89) from the field, hit 18-22 foul shots (81.8%), outrebounded the Pistons 41-37, and turned the ball over a season-low six times. They also held the Pistons to 44.4% (32-72) shooting, and just 3-13 from beyond the arc. All of those numbers added up to free tacos for fans at the game, and an easy win.
The Pistons were led by Tracy McGrady and Greg Monroe, who each scored 14 points. McGrady, oddly enough starting at the point guard position, also had six assists, but did turn the ball over six times. Tayshaun Prince had 12 points, and Richard Hamilton, now coming off the bench, scored 11.
The Lakers hope to carry this momentum into their game tomorrow night in Phoenix, where they face the new-look Suns in the second game of a back-to-back. The Lakers won in Phoenix in the second game of the year 114-106, but were blitzed by 22 three-pointers, as the Suns won 121-116 at Staples Center back on November 14th.