The Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons 106-96 thanks to (for a change) a good third quarter. LAL is now 5-13 after back-to-back wins and is 4-0 against teams from the Eastern Conference while the Pistons fell to 3-15 (yuck).
The game started out as ugly as you might with both teams sporting a combined 7-27 record. Carlos Boozer provided the early offense for LA, notching 8 points in the first quarter. Kobe looked, for lack of a better word, tired in the first quarter and didn’t score until the third quarter. But as he often does when his shots not falling, he played the facilitator role and found his teammates for open looks early and often. That kept LAL close in the first period despite shooting under 40%.
The game remained close in the second quarter and the lead changed hands multiple times. The bench provided a nice spark tonight, led by Swaggy P as is so often the case. Young came off the bench looking for buckets and was successful in finding them after an 0-4 start. He finished with a classic Nick Young scoreline of 19 points, 1 rebound and a goose egg in the assist column.
The third quarter is where this game was won. Kobe came to life, scoring a quick 12 points to help the Lakers build a lead that swelled to 19 points at one point. Jordan Hill continued his strong play (particularly on the offensive glass), knocking down both open jumpers that usually came on the heels of Bryant’s getting into the lane and connected on a few nice jump hooks on his way to 22 points and 13 rebounds. He’s been a bright spot for the Lakers in a season where there haven’t been many.
It would have been nice for the Lakers to maintain the advantage they built in the third quarter to enable to starters to rest with a game against the 11-5 Wizards tomorrow night. But that wasn’t the case, as some sloppy play allowed the Pistons to cut the lead to 8 with 5 minutes to play, which prompted Byron Scott to put Jeremy Lin and Kobe back in the game to secure the win. And that’s exactly what they did. Despite turning the ball over 10 time (!!!), Kobe finished with 12 points and 13 assists. In his last two games, #24 has totaled 25 assists. While there’s no doubt LA needs Kobe to be their first option offensively, he’s clearly the teams best passer/facilitator and it would serve the team better if Kobe played the facilitator role more often.
While two wins in a row are always nice, it’s important to keep in the mind the quality (or lackthereof) of the of opponent tonight. The Pistons have been putrid as of late- tonight marked their ninth consecutive loss. They looked lost on the offensive end, having seemingly no gameplan, and were out-hustled throughout tonight’s game. But the Lakers will take any win they can get, and they head to Washington tomorrow riding a two-game win streak.
Let’s hope the improved offensive play (all 5 starters were in double figures tonight for the second consecutive game) continues tomorrow night in Washington. The Wizards are a much, much better team than the Pistons are, and if the Lakers don’t come to play, a blowout is a real possibility.
The Dane says
Thanks for the recap, much appreciated. Seems obvious to me that to get this team of misfits to work at the highest possible level, they have to share the ball.
Would the Lakers be in the playoff picture if they played in the east?
Would Cleveland be bottom three of the conference if they played in the west?
Happy to get the win, Wizards will be almost West’ly quality, and with a monster at guard and power at the three they seem to have the ingredients to really bother this team.
I was at the game so a few notes:
– Kobe fans alone filled out half the Palace ..including glen from the walking dead…. place was half empty and laker fans were in equal number to pistons fans but much more vocal
– Stan benched his starters for the entire 4th quarter
– our bench is terrible .. wellington,sacre,and arguably price are all terrible
– greg monroe is not that good, Hill is better, so hopefully we dont throw stupid money at monroe next year
– kobe had some pretty bad turnovers
– overall the game never felt like there was any fire or competition
So for me seeing a game is a treat and most sporting events in Montreal are always sold out amd given when i watch laker games on tv they seem sold out but given the lack of energy in this game .. i see no reason why anyone would ever go see a 76er game … my friemd was relling me how i. The 2000s when the pistons were in the finals all the time the place was sold out everygame for like 10 years ….. now maybe 20-30%
… the long term philly rebuild is not the amswer if u want to run a business … super tanking needs to be addressed amd phily fined …it must hurt every team they play against in terms of ticket revenue, not sure how that is flying around the league
Considering the Lakers have had the toughest schedule in the entire league (by a pretty wide margin), this is more or less how things can go for us right now. We’re a better team than our record indicates, and Kobe will shed some rust off. I expect a mini-burst after the All-Star break, as well.
Best-case scenario: .500 ball.
Worst-case scenario: .500 ball.
I have no idea how I feel about our immediate future right now.
Everclear, I don’t think Kobe has any “rust” to shed off. I think he is playing as well as he is going to play when TIRED. Clearly, he has the skills to continue to be a great player in bursts. It just doesn’t seem like he can do so and play tons of minutes which is completely understandable. Who can lead his team in minutes after severe injuries and playing more minutes than almost anyone in the history of the NBA?
I again put this on Coach Scott, he has to LIMIT Kobe’s minutes and rest him during blowouts or some of these back-to-back games. There is absolutely no trust out there for this team without Kobe, but I think they could have won last night no problem without him. Lin can actually play point guard and distribute and if Young hits his shots and Hill plays well they can beat the other junky teams. Basically Kobe could have rested last night. Ellington is a pretty good player, he seems to play defense and can clearly shoot the rock. Having Ellington start occasionally and then have Clarkson or Lin back-up Ellington to cover the minutes at the 2 guard. This would enable Kobe to be more efficient, put up better stats, and avoid those horrible shooting games. Additionally it would potentially give more time to some of these other guys if they are trying to rebuild. Rather than just ride Kobe into the ground and then have to do yet another full rebuild two years from now.
-Guys are getting waaaaay to excited, relax. Not 1st time they looked good. Lakers won two in a roll previously this season (Hawks & Rockets). Can’t believe folks are starting to talk play-offs again.
-“if Lakers played in the East”, I’m truly starting to hate that statement. Why not say “if Kobe was only 25 or “if Kobe only took $10 mill per year”. Same type of noise.
-Expecting offers from contenders to come in for Jordan Hill starting Dec 15th.
-18 down, 64 to go. Truly hope Darius writes a “1st quarter report card” after the 20th game on team, coach, & front office. Would be fun.
-Kobe has proven one thing after 18 games…no way are their 39 players better than him currently playing in the NBA.
-Let’s go Lakers, Wiz will be tough…but three in a row w/b the season hi-light at this point.
This is a game the Lakers should win and did, thatnks for the observations on the gane Shaun, thats in a nutshell why the Lakers paid Kobe, he put butts in seats, if he wasnt there i doubt anyone would show up to that game, also shows that the Lakers fan base is still out there. I always believed that Monroe is not good enough to get paid stupid money, Hill has been more than capable to do all the things that Monroe do, even better. Im starting to believe he is a keeper. about tanking , philly should be fined, i understand that you have to rebuild at some point, the Lakers current state is a testament to that, but putting a product so embarrasing on the floor is a disrespect to the fans and the league in general.guidelines must be set. Ok win over one of the worst teams in the league. Must had been atrocius to watch but i take the win.
The Dane says
@BigCitySid Comparing East and West is not like wishing Kobe was 25. I just plainly keeps amazing me how crazy big the difference is between east and west in the NBA and how that colours our idea about which teams are good and which are crap.
J C says
Why would we trade Jordan Hill?
For a draft pick?
Unless Boston gives us Rajon Rondo, and I don’t see that happening, I hope we retain Hill. He’s earning that paycheck, he seems well liked by his teammates, and he’s young.
Hope to see him in a Laker uni for awhile.
Wall v. Lin would be interesting because that’s what gave Lin the tiny opening he needed to set foot in the NBA.
I am betting Wall is going to go berzerk tho.
lil pau says
I credit a technological blunder to the Lakers’ improved play and back to back wins:
apparently, a glut of emails from Mitch, Byron, and someone referring to himself as ‘The Inside Man’, all of which demanded that the Lakers don’t move the ball and shoot only long twos, was found backed up in each player’s ‘Swag Filter’. When asked to comment, team computer technician Nicholas Young said, ‘I can’t help it, mahn, computers just go Swaggy when I’m around, y’know?’
Wiz have a good mix of youth and vets, can run at times and can work the half-court. Wall is on fire now and Beal is coming around. Lots of big bodies down low to bang. Nene probably misses this game, so some hope there. If Wiz take Lakers lightly, then could be an upset, but these guys seem a little more serious and focused. I think the Lakers can make it a game, but Wall will probably be the difference.
Calvin Chang says
Byron and Kobe have found a formula to keep them competitive- put Kobe in the mid-post and let him play point-Kobe from there. In the past 2 games, with Kobe in a pass-first mode, teammates are actively moving and getting involved, and getting more confidence. Having this structure certainly makes the team more entertaining. One big factor is keeping the turnovers low. Kobe had 10 last night, but the rest had only 4. Only 10 team turnovers against Raptors. Good job taking care of the ball.
BigCity – how’s this one?
“If only Dwight Howard was as driven as Kobe and stayed a Laker”?
Or this: “If only The Veto never happened.”
Calvin Chang says
With one-on-one coverage, Kobe can pretty much create a good-percentage shot from 15-18 feet. As long as he doesn’t get pushed too far out, him playing point-Kobe from midpost will create open looks for teammates if they move AND if Kobe’s looking to be patient and pass first.
-@ R, lol, you see my point.
-@ J C, your question: “Why would we trade Jordan Hill?” Answer: it depends on the plans of the front office. Don’t look now, but if the draft was today, the Lakers would lose their “top 5” protected 1st round draft pick to Phoenix. Lakers currently have a better record than six other teams (Knicks, Hornets, Pistons, T ‘Wolves, Celtics, & Sixers) & are tied w/ the Thunder & the Jazz. Lakers are improving, and the only one of those eight teams that I’m sure will improve greatly is OKC…maybe Charlotte gets its together. So it all depends on “The Plan”.
J C says
Two wins in a row may be our ceiling this year 🙂
Wiz starting 5 ain’t too shabby.
I always liked John Wall. Exciting player.
The Lakers are probably not bad enough to tank. I’ve said this for a while it is very hard to be one of the 5 worst teams in the league.
The Lakers don’t really have anything to lose by trading any of their players not named Kobe. Almost everyone is on short term contracts as per the plan set forth by the F.O. The Lakers won’t trade just to save money, as evidenced last year, but if they could land a long term building block, or a 1st round draft pick, there is no down side to doing it.
These short term contracts turn the Lakers into a farm system for the NBA. When fans talk about keeping this guy or that on his expiring contract I believe they give too much faith that having them in the Laker uniform this year means they will be next year as a given when their contract expires.
If Kobe would always play like this…Passing instead of shooting a ton…The Lakers would have a couple more wins if Kobe didn’t start the season shooting so much…See how long before he goes back to gunning….
-@ Vasheed, my points exactly
– Lakers may be stinking it up at home (2-8), but they’re almost .500 on the road (3-5).
The Lakers are not one of the 5 worse teams in the league and barring an injury to Kobe Byrant won’t finish in the bottom five.
Laker fans that think we should tank should resign themselves to the fact that we are giving up that pick to Phoenix so they can start rooting for their team to win again.
T. Rogers says
“Laker fans that think we should tank should resign themselves to the fact that we are giving up that pick to Phoenix so they can start rooting for their team to win again.”
I think this is why both Hill and Lin are indeed trade bait. If some first rounders can be had for either of them I can see them being moved. The Lakers may not be one of the five worst teams in the league. Of course that assumes the Lakers are free of the injury bug that has been so prevalent the last three seasons.
Kobe as PG looks good most of the time … but why aren’t we concerned when it produces 10 turnovers? Can’t we get Kobe to shoot less without having to produce high assists and turnovers?
the other Stephen says
@ lil pau
“mahn” = jamaican-german. “mayn” = proper level of swaggy.
BigCitySid – got to be excited, that’s the only fun we got, mid December they are finding chemistry among themselves, of course can’t avoid stumbling down on some teams especially if those teams have athletic PG. However, we are seeing good competition not lopsided score from the get go. I wish they keep on developing the 3 pt shooters and keep on feeding the beast. Kobe finally recognized the importance of sharing the score at his age which is the best way to spread defense of the opposing team and get a free look of the ring. Despite the defensive woes on Lin, Boozer & Wesley, they compensate it with activity in offense, eventually they will get their own D. Just focus where the ball is, and you will find your defense.
With regards to the tankers club, isn’t it exciting if they are winning? Think of tanking and hoping to get Jabari type, Wiggins type, Von Leah, McDermott, Exum, Gordon – are they helping their teams? Will Durant or any marquee FA motivated if Lakers are perennial losers? Here is the formula – they want their max, possible ring and most important a huge market for their supplementary income, that’s the Lakers if they are above .500.
sigh so sad Kobe has to get 10+ assists to scrape out a win. the last time he had to get double digit assists to win games he blew out his achilles lol
on a serious note though, i hope the team can right the ship and not be the atrocity i’ve seen so far in the season