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.
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.
In another lackluster effort Sunday night, the Lakers lost for the third time in four games at home, and once again to another non-playoff team in a blowout. This time it was the Memphis Grizzlies who took it to the Lakers 104-85, in a game they led almost the entire way.
The Lakers came out flat from the start, and by the middle of the first quarter found themselves behind by nine points, and they never recovered. They trailed by the same nine points at halftime, and did actually get to within one point in the third quarter. But that’s as close as they got to the lead.
Lamar Odom missed two free throws that would have at least tied the game early in the third quarter, the Grizzlies then went on a 19-4 run that buried the Lakers, despite Kobe Bryant scoring 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half. It was obvious on this night it was going to take more than Bryant’s heroics to pull out a win, but no one else offered much resistance.
The losses at home are not only alarming because of who the Lakers are losing to, it’s also how they are losing. They’ve now been blown out by two sub-.500 teams by 19 points, in addition to the 16-point waxing by the Miami Heat on Christmas Day. The only win in the last four at home was a close 102-98 victory over Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, a game the Lakers could have easily lost.
Only two other Laker players scored in double figures Sunday. Shannon Brown had 11 points off the bench, and Pau Gasol had 10 points and eight rebounds. Andrew Bynum scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had five blocks, but took only eight shots from the floor.
The Lakers actually outshot the Grizzlies from the field, hitting 46.5% (33-71) to 45.6% (41-90), but turned the ball over 20 times, which allowed Memphis to take a staggering, 19 more shots. That was the difference in the game. The Lakers were also outrebounded 44-37, but that stat was not nearly as damaging as the turnovers.
Rudy Gay, who missed the team’s loss on Saturday in Utah, scored 27 points on 10-19 from the field. Zach Randolph scored 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, and O.J. Mayo torched the Lakers off the bench with 15 points.
Bryant also picked up his fifth technical foul in the last six games, as it appears his frustration is growing with more than just the officiating.
The Lakers next game is Tuesday night at home against the woeful Detroit Pistons, whom the Lakers beat easily 103-90 back on November 17th in Detroit. In that game, Bryant had 33 points and nine rebounds, Gasol had 25 and 12 rebounds, and Odom had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
In a game the Lakers never trailed, they also were never able to put away the resilient Philadelphia 76ers, and needed some late points by Kobe Bryant to get a 102-98 win at Staples Center on New Year’s Eve.
Bryant, who was held to a season-low nine points in a win in Philadelphia earlier this month, scored a game-high 33 points, including the tiebreaking jumper with just over 90 seconds left, as the Lakers hung on to get the victory. The win snapped a two-game home losing streak for the Lakers.
The Sixers did have chances to win the game at the end, but UCLA-product Jrue Holiday missed a three-pointer late, and guard Lou Williams followed with the same with four seconds left. Bryant then hit two free throws to seal the victory.
Pau Gasol had 20 points and eight rebounds, bouncing back from some recent sub-part scoring games. Lamar Odom had 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and Andrew Bynum scored eight points and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds.
The Lakers led the game the entire way, and by as many as 12 at one point, but the young Philadelphia squad kept hanging around. They trailed 52-44 at halftime, and 82-73 after three quarters, but managed to fight back and tie the game at 98 with just over a minute left. They never did score again however, as Bryant scored the game’s final four points for the world champs.
For the second straight game, the Lakers shot over 50% from the field, hitting 42-82 (51.2%) against Philadelphia. The also dominated on the glass, 45-35, including 11 at the offensive end. However, they did only hit 4-14 (28.6%) from beyond the arc, as they continue to struggle from long range in recent games.
The Sixers, who played without Andre Iguodala for the third straight game, were led by Holiday’s 19 points and 11 assists. Off the bench, Lou Williams scored 18, and Thaddeus Young had 14. In fact, the 76ers’ bench scored 44 of the team’s 98 points.
The Lakers are in the middle of a three-game homestand that will continue on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have already beaten the Lakers once this season, 98-96 back on November 13th at the FedEx Forum.
The Lakers will play six of their next eight games at home, with only two of the games against teams with winning records (New Orleans and New York). With the schedule getting increasingly harder in the middle of the month, the Lakers need to take advantage and get wins against the weaker teams to climb back closer to the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers avoided another four-game losing streak in fine fashion, as they led virtually all the way, in a surprisingly-easy 103-88 win against the Hornets in New Orleans on Wednesday.
After the loss on Tuesday against the Spurs, coach Phi Jackson decided to shake up the lineup, and put Andrew Bynum into the starting five for the first time this season, thus moving Lamar Odom back to his familiar sixth man role. And did that move pay off on this night for both players.
Odom scored a game-high 24 points on 10-15 from the floor, the most points scored by a Laker bench since 2005 when Tierre Brown had 27 against Atlanta. He also had a highlight play when he wrapped the ball behind his back on a drive to the rim, and after missing the layup, casually slammed home his own rebound. It was that kind of night for the Lakers.
Andrew Bynum scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds in his first start of the season, and is looking more comfortable now as he works his way back from knee surgery. Kobe Bryant scored 20 points, hitting 8-14 shots from the field, and needed to play less than 28 minutes in the win. Pau Gasol had 11 points (on only five shots) and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers led 26-23 after one quarter, but outscored the Hornets 33-18 in the second, for a 59-41 halftime advantage. The Hornets never got closer than 13 points in the second half, as the Lakers cruised to their seventh win in their last 11 meetings in New Orleans.
For the game, the Lakers shot 58.6% from the field, and at one point late in the second quarter were still shooting over 70%. They also held the Hornets to just 41.8% from the floor, and 4-16 (25.0%) from the three-point line. The Lakers also dominated on the boards, holding a 44-24 rebounding advantage. In fact the Hornets only had 18 defensive rebounds, that’s how well it on both sides of the ball for the Lakers.
Chris Paul led the Hornets with 20 points and seven assists, but wasn’t really able to be much of a factor as he usually is against the Lakers. Marco Belinelli had 15 points, most of them in the second half when the game was out of reach. He only shot 4-16 from the floor for the game.
The Hornets did have a scary moment when leading-scorer David West went down with an ankle injury after landing on Ron Artest’s foot in the second quarter. He left the game, but did return for the second half. He scored just eight points in 28 minutes.
With their losing streak behind them, the Lakers play their next three games at home. The first will be New Year’s Eve against the Philadelphia 76ers. This will be the second meeting of the year between the two teams. The Lakers won the first meeting 93-81 in Philadelphia back on December 17th behind Lamar Odom’s 28 points.