Lakers knock off Detroit, Kobe knocks off milestones
After consecutive losses, the Lakers needed a strong response Tuesday night at Staples against the Detroit Pistons, a middling group playing without injured stars Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. They got it, for three quarters at least, in a 106-93 win. Kobe Bryant led the way with 40 points, the 100th time he's blown up for 40 or more (that's 100 more than me and AK... combined!) over the course of his career. Bryant missed his first four shots, but then went nuts, shaking off the effects of a strained right groin to finish 17-29 from the floor. He capped his night with a three pointer, but generally speaking continued to do his damage in the post, taking advantage of an undersized Ben Gordon in particular.
LA used a Kobe fueled Q2 (13 points for Bryant) to blow the game open, and eventually built the lead to 28. Yes, they (meaning the reserves) lost their discipline and structure in the fourth and let the Pistons back in- shouldn't happen- but overall it was a positive return to form for the purple and gold.
Add in news that Pau Gasol is on track for a return, perhaps as soon as Thursday night against the Bulls, and the process of turning those frowns of Friday and Sunday upside-down was basically complete. Not that the healing kept Phil Jackson from skewering Gasol and his guest spot on CSI: Miami.
MORE LAKERS AND NBA NOTES...
-With Luke Walton on the shelf, the Lakers have looked into a return for Tony Gaffney, currently playing in Israel. Nothing, though, is imminent. PJ said Tuesday that Walton's injury may help clear up potential playing time issues, including making it easier for Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar to play at the same time, Brown at the two, Farmar at the point.
-Kwame Brown says he can't take credit for LA's rise, and is impressed with Andrew Bynum's improvement.
-Congratulations to Warriors guard Monta Ellis for volunteering to pick up the slack now that Stephen Jackson has been shipped to Charlotte... or not.
-Lawrence Frank will apparently be allowed to continue coaching the Nets. Does that mean management there actually hates him?
-AI to the Knicks looks like a longshot.
-Sam Dalembert's agent is a big fan of the potential deal that would send Sam Dalembert from Philly to Sacramento.
-Iverson's departure from Memphis kind of screws the marketing department.
More from last night's game...
Shannon Brown, on playing with Farmar:
Brown, Lamar Odom, on Kobe's 100 40's:
(PHOTO: Kobe Bryant scores vs. the Pistons, credit: Alex Gallardo, LAT)