Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out four assists to power the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-90 victory over Detroit.
Pau Gasol added 25 points and 12 boards, while Lamar Odom chipped in with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their third straight visit to the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Rodney Stuckey scored 18, and Tayshaun Prince supplied 13 points and six rebounds in defeat for the Pistons, who have dropped two in a row and three out of five overall.
Leading by 14 at the break, the Lakers opened the third quarter with a 14-3 run to take a 73-48 lead with 6:50 to go in the quarter. Detroit made only 7- of-23 shots in the quarter and fell behind by as many as 26 before going into the final 12 minutes trailing 84-63.
“We knew that we had to come out and play hard,” said forward Ron Artest about the Lakers’ mindset starting the second half. “Even if you are down or up you still have to play hard. You always have to try and do the right thing, which is execute and stick to the game plan. We definitely stuck to the game plan tonight.”
The Pistons never really threatened in the fourth quarter, though they did whittle the deficit down to 11 on two occasions in the final 90 seconds.
The Lakers made 11-of-18 shots from the field en route to a 34-25 lead after the first quarter. Richard Hamilton was ejected just five minutes into the contest after picking up a double technical foul.
Bryant scored 10 of his 24 first half points in the second quarter as LA expanded its lead to 59-45 at the intermission.
Will Bynum’s 18-foot jumper got the Pistons to within 38-35, but the visitors answered with a 13-4 burst, keyed by three Bryant buckets, to push their lead to 51-39 with 3:53 to play in the period.
“I really thought the game started off with them coming down in transition and making shot after shot,” Detroit head coach John Kuester said. “We came back and got it within three during the second quarter but we didn’t come out with the level of focus that we have to have against a great team. They are a great team.”
Bryant made 11-of-20 from the floor while Gasol knocked down 10-of-17 for the Lakers, who improved to 4-1 on the road…Los Angeles made 22-of-24 foul shots…Detroit made only 4-of-16 from three-point territory in falling to 2-3 at home…Austin Daye provided 12 points and seven boards in the defeat.