After beating the New Jersey Nets last night, 103-85, the Los Angeles Lakers were left with a tough decision, due to ridiculous weather circumstances. Try (with no guarantee of success) to take the normal charter flight after the game and arrive early the next day in Detroit, or stay in New Jersey overnight, and travel on game day. The early start of tonight's game against the Pistons made sure that, no matter which option the Lakers chose, they'd be suffering a little bit more tonight than you normally would even in a regular back-to-back situation. The Lakers decided to go for broke, and were lucky enough to get out of New Jersey, but they did not arrive to their team hotel until 4:30 in the morning, leaving them roughly 12 hours before their next game.
And it didn't make a lick of difference.The team came out with purpose, and capitalized on poor shooting and a ton of turnovers by Detroit, winning easily 93-81. And that final score doesn't accurately describe a game that once again saw the Lakers up nearly 20 points in the 4th quarter. Phil Jackson decided to give the Taco unit a try, and they performed right up to their lead-losing standards. But, despite Josh Powell's best efforts, the Lakers were never in danger of losing the game.
The game saw Andrew Bynum make a brief return to the land of the living, with 16 points and 7 boards. Those aren't great numbers, but after seeing what he's done the past few games, it's certainly progress. Then again, he was the only starter to be negative in +/-, while the rest of the starting 5 were double digits in the right direction, so maybe progress ain't all it's cracked up to be.
As the numbers show, it was another sterling defensive performance for the Lakers, and a decent job on the glass as well. Holding the Pistons to 27% Offensive rebounding % isn't fantastic, but it is below their season average. And the Lakers did a great job of pounding the offensive glass themselves. Aside from that, the game can basically be summed up by saying that all the Lakers performed exactly how you would expect them to.
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Thus ends the Lakers first extended road trip, and it has to be labeled quite a success. It started off badly with the loss in Utah, but that game was both predictable and understandable, considering the circumstances. Since then, 4 victories, 3 of which were comfortable. The Lakers didn't exactly go up against a murderer's row, but they took care of business, just like they should.