From Kevin Ding, OC Register: It was a gray Wednesday in the middle of the country in the middle of November on the second night of a back-to-back set against a nondescript opponent. And the Lakers were great anyway. What can you really prove in an early season mismatch against a fragmented, demoralized Detroit Pistons team? Plenty, plenty. These are occasions when it’s so easy to go through the motions and play down to the level of the competition. Past Lakers teams have done that often, and allow me to flash back to my mid-November column a year ago about how the Lakers started last season:
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Seven years ago, the Lakers were Team Turmoil with all sorts of distractions on a 2003-04 team that still managed to reach the NBA Finals before falling off the cliff against the more united Detroit Pistons. Back in the venue where he suffered his first and worst loss in the championship round, Lakers coach Phil Jackson saw this season’s installment of the Lakers play with impressive pride, community and execution in a 103-90 dismantling of a Detroit team that is having its own morale issues now. “Everything seemed to go right for us,” Jackson said of the team’s fast start. Although Jackson said he has put the 2004 NBA Finals behind him, Kobe Bryant said in his KCAL/9 postgame interview that he is motivated by it every time he returns to The Palace of Auburn Hills.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Take the Lakers’ 103-90 victory Wednesday over Detroit for what it’s worth. A win against a sub-. 500 opponent can be deceiving when measuring any the areas of significance against that backdrop. So even if the Lakers clicked offensively and sharpened up defensively, I hesitate to draw big-picture implications out of it. Nonetheless, this can do wonders from a psychological standpoint after coming off a recent two-game losing streak. The Lakers rebounded in a competitive win Tuesday against Milwaukee and proved they could sustain that energy, albeit against a 4-8 team, the following night. The Lakers’ three-game trip came at the right time because the team hit a little bit of a lull after experiencing early-season success, and it was nice for the team finally to hit the road for an extended period of time. A change of scenery always helps keep things interesting and the fact the Lakers came away with two wins from it thus far shows the team has changed up its focus. We’ll see how that carries over Friday at Minnesota.
Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: If you happened to miss tonight’s game, first: congratulations on finding something better to do. Some of us weren’t so lucky. Second: please don’t misread a modest 13-point margin of victory as a sign that the outcome was ever in question. In front of a sparse and depressed-looking Palace crowd, the Lakers jammed out to an 11-2 lead and built the cushion up to 14 at halftime and 26 in the third period before letting the scrubs run out the clock. The Lakers move their record to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 on the second nights of back-to-backs.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: I’m not referring to the pride experienced by a player or fan. Sure, it’s a sweet feeling, but similar to what Chris Rock said about taking care of your kids, the Lakers are supposed to dominate the Pistons. They’re very bad, spend more time bickering with their coach than trying to improve and sport the body language of a crew hankering to quit in ten minutes. There are no bragging rights in beating Detroit. But what this contest does offer, other than a theoretical automatic “W,” is the chance for a starter to get hurt by being on the floor too long or having to expend more effort than legitimately necessary. All Lake Show pride aside, the desire to quickly make this a laugher is more pragmatic than emotional. You want a win and everyone exiting the building in one piece. No more. No less.
Patrick Hayes, Piston Powered: So … how about that Jared Sullinger? At least people won’t grasp at straws based on how well the bench played after the Pistons’ second unit combined to shoot 14-for-42 in the team’s 103-90 loss to the Lakers Wednesday. The outcome isn’t a surprise. For the third time this season, the Pistons played a team that is among the league’s elite. For the third time (following losses to Boston and Portland), the Pistons were never in the game. Rip Hamilton was ejected about five minutes into the game, and maybe having an extra taller defensive player to throw at Kobe Bryant would’ve mattered, but it’s doubtful considering how well everyone on the Lakers played and how poorly everyone on the Pistons played. There isn’t much to analyze in the loss. The Pistons didn’t move the ball well. They didn’t defend. And those two things aren’t much different than a lot of games this season, but the difference was the Pistons compounded the problems by not making shots.
Lastly, Rob Mahoney “articulates the significance of the Lakers as a Second Creation story, a rebirth by which all NBA narratives are shaped,” on Voice of the Floor. Check it out here.