The Lakers were embarrassed at home yet again on Sunday night when the Memphis Grizzlies came to Staples Center and gave the purple and gold a 19-point spanking. The loss broke a two-game winning streak and gave the Lakers their fourth loss in six games.
Tonight, the Lakers faced off with another mediocre team in the Detroit Pistons Lakers looking for their bigs down low tonight! Finish the second quarter leading Detroit 24-19 in the first game of a back-to-back set. The last time these two teams matched up was on Nov. 17 in Detroit; where the Lakers came out victorious, 103-90.
Having lost three of their last six at home, the Lakers were looking to use a contest against one of the league’s worst as a springboard to some form of momentum.
After going scoreless on Sunday, Ron Artest opened up tonight’s game with a three-pointer off of an assist from Kobe Bryant. The rest of the quarter was the tale of the big man, as the Lakers front court accounted for 20 of the team’s 24 first quarter points. Andrew Bynum scored six straight points for the purple and gold, but after scoring his eighth point of the period, he picked up his second foul with 6:18 remaining in the period and was relegated to the bench for the rest of the quarter.
However, Bynum’s partners down low, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, picked up the slack in his absence, scoring seven and five points in the first period, respectively.
Just 15 points shy of eclipsing Hall-of-Fame swingman Dominique Wilkins for the 10th spot on the all-time scoring list, Kobe Bryant went cold in the first quarter, missing his first nine field goal attempts.
Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady scored seven points a piece for the Pistons in the first period, but the Lakers were on top heading into the second quarter, leading 24-20.
Steve Blake kicked off the second period for the Lakers by nailing a 3-pointer just 30 seconds in. Then, after a layup by Odom and two successfully converted free throws from Pau, Kobe knocked down his first shot of the game, putting him 13 points away from passing Wilkins for 10th all-time.
Despite holding a 10 point lead early on, the Pistons rallied back in the second quarter behind the strong and energetic play of their bench. Pistons’ reserves Richard Hamilton, Greg Monroe and Austin Daye accounted for 19 of Detroit’s 23 second quarter points, and narrowed the Lakers lead to two points with just over a minute to play.
With 15 seconds to play in the half Luke Walton fed Kobe for a lay up to give the Lakers a four point lead, but a free throw by McGrady cut the Pistons deficit to three, and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the score 45-42 in the Lakers favor.
Downtown appeared to be the spot of ignition for the Lakers, as they opened up the period with a triple again, this time it came from the hands of Artest. Feeling the fire, the Derek Fisher came down on the next possession and nailed a 3-pointer of his own to give extend the Lakers lead back to nine points.
Then, with 6:43 remaining in the period, Kobe made history yet again, as he completed a layup in traffic to pass Dominique Wilkins for the 10th spot on the all time scoring list.
The Lakers came out strong in the second to last period and never looked back. A dunk by Ron Artest gave them a 20 point lead with just under 30 seconds remaining. The Pistons cut into the Lakers’ lead off of a three point play from Monroe, but the Lakers closed out the period leading 76-59.
In the fourth and final period, the Lakers held onto their steady grip of the scoreboard and ran away with the game – picking up a 25 point win, 108-83.
Shannon Brown put on an athletic showcase in the period, using a variety of moves to score all of his 9 points in the final quarter.
The Lakers were paced by the prowess of their big men, as Gasol, Odom and Bynum finished with 21, 13 and 16 points, respectively.
Kobe shot a suspect six for 18, but flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
The Lakers are set to close out their back-to-back set tomorrow night in a matchup with Steve Nash and the struggling Phoenix Suns (14-18). The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. PST and will be aired on ESPN and ESPN3.com.