It was the battle of the winless at Staples Center as the 0-2 Detroit Pistons took on the 0-3 Los Angeles Lakers. The last time the Lakers were 0-3 in the regular season? October 17, 1978. And the Lakers have never started 0-4 since they moved to Los Angeles (they started 0-7 in the 1957-58 season in Minneapolis). Do they finally get on the board? Let’s find out.
From the tip, the Lakers looked like a completely different squad.
They seemed to make a concentrated effort to get their Spanish power forward. Gasol was involved early with two early baskets. Then Metta World Peace had a nice move inside to score his first basket. After Kobe made a fastbreak lay-up, the Lakers were off to an encouraging 8-2 start.
The Laker turnovers did continue in the first because they kept forcing the ball inside. But the Lakers seemed to play better defensively (including Steve Blake, who had three early steals, and Dwight Howard, who had two early blocks).
Dwight Howard eventually asserted himself inside after the Lakers started making smarter passes into the post. Coupled with Pau Gasol’s aggressiveness, it looked like the Lakers we expected to see were back. Nobody from Detroit, even if they included the Red Wings, Tigers, Eminem, and Kevin Nash, could stop the Laker twin towers. And Kobe Bryant was fantastic in his playmaker role with five first quarter dimes.
I think this game is showing right now that if there is a team in more disarray than the Lakers, it’s the Pistons.
— Andross Oikonny (@M4RSZ) November 5, 2012
After a barrage of threes from Kobe Bryant AND Darius Morris, the Lakers lead after 1, 34-13.
NEWSFLASH. THE LAKERS LEAD, 34-13, AFTER 1. EVEN IF IT IS THE DETROIT PISTONS.
The Lakers continued their great play and it didn’t help that Detroit continued to play basketball with the aptitude of a Paris Hilton. The Pistons turned the ball over quite a bit, some of them unforced but we also gotta give credit to the Lakers actually FORCING turnovers. The Laker fans approve.
Dwight just took that ball away noice!!!
— AJ Buhryaant (@iTSAtotheJ) November 5, 2012
What they had planned offensively in this game was the right move but I still found it interesting how Kobe Bryant was willing to let Dwight Howard dominate the contest instead of looking for his shot. We know how much of an alpha male Kobe is but he has really bought in so far this season despite the difficulties.
Anyway, the Lakers continued to dominate the poor Pistons. Metta had a couple of 3-pointers to become the fourth player with double figures for the Lakers. Heck, he even included this nice gem to Kobe.
The Lakers led the Pistons, 62 million to 34 (okay, it’s really 62-34 but that’s what it felt like).
Dwight Howard continued to dominate on both ends. It was like this pretty much the whole game for D12.
It was basically the same story from the first half: nobody could stop him and he stopped everybody. He did miss a dunk, which became a blown assist by Kobe (who had 8 by that time). I guess the night wasn’t perfect but, hey, why should the Laker faithful complain, right?
I did not see Dwight Howard miss a dunk, nonono
— V.a.r.e.e.c (@V_Valdez_C) November 5, 2012
What was encouraging about this quarter is that they continued to play some suffocating defense (and, of course, that’s a lot of thanks to Dwight Howard). I liked that they continued to step on the gas. And that’s what they should do. When they’re up 20, they should punch them in the face and go up by 30. If they’re up by 35, they should kick them in the groin and go up by 47. And that’s what they did in the third. But good grief, the Pistons looked horrible. Not that it hasn’t been the case in the last few seasons.
Unfortunately, Jordan Hill fell on his hip/back area after a dunk. The Lakers don’t need another injury.
The Lakers led by as many as 36 points. They led after 3, 86-55.
Hill ended up being okay and started the fourth quarter. At this point, I wanted to play a bit of Super Nintendo but, you know, I have to watch the entire game. But, seriously, it was nice to see the starters finally get some rest in the fourth. They were all smiles for the first time this season. Maybe we really should heed Kobe’s advice and just, you know, shut up?
Since this is garbage time, I’ll let Laker Twitter sound off a bit.
Let Jodie Cook
— The Senator (@FastTimesAtRF) November 5, 2012
Lakers bench playing like the Lakers bench.
— Not Lupe (@Artistikk) November 5, 2012
Unfortunately, Mike Brown had to bring the starters back because the Pistons went on a 12-0 run. I understood it but most fans didn’t agree with it.
Our bench is so trash yo. Omg. SOOO TRASH. They real life blew our lead in half in like 4 minutes.
— Prof. Ratchington R$ (@MooMeezy) November 5, 2012
It’s really tough to trust the bench when they play this poorly. Hopefully, they improve over the next few weeks.
Oh, yeah. Here’s more Dwight.
The starters got everything back in order and put the lead back to 28. Coach Mike Brown finally took the starters out with 4:14 left in the game. Everyone that’s on the active roster eventually got to play. At that point, I was hoping for Chris Duhon to break out a new dance.
By the way, Happy B-Day to TWCSN sideline reporter, Mike Trudell.
This was the antidote the Lakers needed. They played really good on both sides of the floor. Offensively, they got easy baskets. Defensively, they strangled the Pistons. It’s the first time they’ve actually made positive steps this season.
The final tally was Lakers 108, Detroit 79.
The Lakers go on the road to face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. They’ll be going for two straight wins, which, I know, sounds like a tall order at this point.
Points: Dwight Howard, 28
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Jordan Hill, 7
Assists: Kobe Bryant, 8
Steals: Steve Blake, 5
Blocks: Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, 3