Rapid Reaction: Lakers 106, Pistons 102
November, 29, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Los Angeles Lakers came into their three-game trip with only one win away from Staples Center all season.
They'll return to L.A. with three times that many.
Not a perfect trip, but mission accomplished overall.
The Lakers went 2-1 on the jaunt, getting back above .500, at 9-8, for the first time since their opening-night victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
How it happened: L.A. took a one-point lead into halftime before the Pistons came alive in the third quarter, outscoring L.A. 32-21 to take a 10-point cushion into the fourth. The Lakers' bench unit of Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Robert Sacre and Shawne Williams cut it to two midway through the fourth quarter, when coach Mike D'Antoni put some of his starters back in. That's when Detroit's Brandon Jennings went on a personal 6-0 run to put the Pistons back ahead by eight.
Farmar responded with five straight of his own to bring L.A. to within three points with less than three minutes left. Young found Williams in the corner to tie it with a 3-pointer, 99-99, and Farmar made a pull-up jumper with 1:25 to go to give L.A. the lead. Young and Jennings exchanged buckets and Pau Gasol made a free throw, setting up Jennings' 3-point attempt with 16.7 seconds left to try to tie the score.
Farmar was called for a foul on Jennings' release, leading to three free throws for Detroit, which needed all three to tie. Jennings missed the first two and made the third, cutting L.A.'s lead to two.
Then it was Farmar's turn to miss two free throws, setting up Pistons' possession with 15.2 seconds left, trailing by two. Rodney Stuckey missed a baseline fadeaway jumper with 8.0 seconds left, but the ball skirted out of bounds off the Lakers, setting up another chance for Detroit.
Josh Smith drove the ball in from the top of the key and Young set up to take a charge, drawing the offensive foul and giving L.A. the unorthodox game-winning defensive stop.
What it means: With Kobe Bryant seemingly close to getting back in the fold and the Lakers now winners of five of their past six games, L.A. is clearly a team with momentum on its side.
Hits: Wesley Johnson scored a season-high 27 points (two off his career high 29), shooting 9-for-11 from the field and 6-for-7 from 3 to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
Williams had 20 points and nine rebounds.
Gasol had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Steve Blake had 10 assists.
TLC was the halftime show. Yes, they're still chasing waterfalls.
Misses: A game after scoring a season-high 26 points, Young shot just 3-for-12.
Jordan Hill played just 14 minutes, collecting 2 points and 4 rebounds, before suffering a sprained left ankle.
Chris Kaman did not play for the fifth straight game, with the past three coming by coach's decision.
Stat of the game: The rest of the Lakers other than Johnson shot a combined 27-for-69 (39.1 percent).
Up next: The Lakers head back home with an off day Saturday followed by a home game Sunday against the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers (13-3). The Portland game is followed by an important week in terms of Bryant's comeback status. L.A. has no games from Monday until Friday night, and Bryant said he planned to use the week of practice to ramp up toward a return.