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Five things to take away from the Lakers' 103-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons

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1. The Lakers get a confidence booster. Take the Lakers' 103-90 victory Wednesday over Detroit for what it's worth. A win against a sub-. 500 opponent can be deceiving when measuring any the areas of significance against that backdrop. So even if the Lakers clicked offensively and sharpened up defensively, I hesitate to draw big-picture implications out of it. Nonetheless, this can do wonders from a psychological standpoint after coming off a recent two-game losing streak. The Lakers rebounded in a competitive win Tuesday against Milwaukee and proved they could sustain that energy, albeit against a 4-8 team, the following night.

The Lakers' three-game trip came at the right time because the team hit a little bit of a lull after experiencing early-season success, and it was nice for the team finally to hit the road for an extended period of time. A change of scenery always helps keep things interesting and the fact the Lakers came away with two wins from it thus far shows the team has changed up its focus. We'll see how that carries over Friday at Minnesota.

2. The Lakers starters received plenty of rest. With the Lakers facing a back-to-back, this served as the most critical component as the quick turnaround and travel schedule equated to their energy level. There was plenty of motivation to put this game away early, as Coach Phil Jackson promised his players they wouldn't have to practice Thursday if he liked their performance. But the Lakers managed to get their rest even before that point. After Pau Gasol logged 44 minutes against Milwaukee, he scored 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 33 minutes. Meanwhile, the rest of the starting unit stayed pretty steady around the high-20, low-30-minute range, including Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom (32 minutes), Ron Artest (28) and Derek Fisher (27).

When the Lakers play in non-descript regular-season games, it's going to be very hard to discern how developments would translate against tougher opponents, particularly in the postseason. But one universal thing that will always determine whether the Lakers fully got what they wanted out of what appears to be a meaningless game involves whether the Lakers' starters rested for a significant chunk of time.

Consider it done.

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3. The Lakers bench went through growing pains, but they secured enough of a lead that the starters didn't have to reenter the game. That's going to be another item on the litmus test when Lakers play sub.-500 teams. Could the Lakers' bench secure the lead? The box score will show that the reserve unit and Odom entered the fourth quarter with an 84-63 lead and allowed Detroit to cut the lead by the end to 13 points. So long as the Lakers' starters didn't have to come back in the game to secure the victory, it's not a worrisome problem. It's going to be very rare for Derrick Caracter, Devin Ebanks and Sasha Vujacic to have significant playing time this season, but so long as they play as a unit and show an honest effort, there's no need to sweat over Detroit chipping away at the deficit.

4. Bryant benefited from resting the previous night against Milwaukee. He proved once again that no amount of defensive attention would inhibit him, as he scored 31 points, going 11 of 11 from the free throw line, and mixed it up in the lane to grab seven boards against Milwaukee. More importantly, Bryant managed to fulfill that role despite playing only 33 minutes. He played in significant chunks in the fourth quarter since the result was still in doubt, but Jackson managed to find spots in the game to give Bryant a breather.

Not only did that approach pay off against Milwaukee, it seemed to carry over against Detroit. Bryant opened the game scoring eight of the team's first 11 points, thanks to two three-pointers and a beautiful bounce pass that resulted in an easy layup. His stat line -- 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting, including three of six from three-point range, eight of eight from the foul line, nine rebounds and four assists -- speaks for itself. He literally was all over the place. It's necessary to consider the opponent, but the Lakers' matchup with Detroit fully illustrated why the Lakers will benefit from Bryant getting enough rest.

As much as Bryant knows his own body, he doesn't want to feel like he has to pace himself and hold anything back. So if Jackson manages to find moments during games to keep him fresh, it's going to pay off in the long run as Bryant shows more spring in his step.

5. The respect-for-the-game rule requires adjustments from not just officials, but players too. Lakers fans likely aren't losing much sleep over this, since it ultimately hurt the Detroit Pistons. But Rip Hamilton's ejection with at the 7:01 mark of the first quarter serves as another example of the league's new technical foul rule showing the officials overreacting and players struggling to adjust to the rule. Hamilton was called for fouling Bryant and immediately voiced his disagreement about it, drawing a technical foul. Rather than letting it go, Hamilton hunched over and kept mouthing about it to himself within earshot of the official.

That sparked an immediate ejection, as one of Detroit's marquee players left the game less than five minutes into it. Though I've often criticized this rule and think this isn't in the best interest of the league to eject players, Hamilton had plenty of opportunities to just drop the issue. But he didn't.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives the baseline against Detroit guard Richard Hamilton in the first half Wednesday night before Hamilton was ejected. Credit: Julian H. Gonzalez/McClatchy-Tribune.

Photo: Lakers center Pau Gasol attacks the basket against Detroit center Ben Wallace in the first half Wednesday night. Credit: Julian H. Gonzalez/McClatchy-Tribune.

 
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I drove super-fast one time, too.


[dbdh]

justa,

You would have loved the radio broadcast of the game. Spiro (I like him more every year) said that it was like watching Kobe in an empty gym last night. Just workin' on his moves.

This is the freakin' Pistons for cryin' out loud! What the heck has happened to that franchise? At the least, when the Lakers went up by 20, a fight should have broken out. That used to be such a proud organization.

That team is dead, and Kobe just went out and relieved himself on their still warm grave.

--FEARless

FEARless - LOL!! I agree but DANG you could have come up with another visual - no? Now I got this image in my head.....*shakes head* ....... it's not leaving. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

justa - never would I patronizingly call you "cute." You may in fact be big-eyed puppy cute, or jaw-droppingly beautiful, or a combination of both, but I'd straight out compliment you on that. NEVER patronizing.

It's the way you describe Kobe in an offhand sort of nonchalant way that I was talkin' about. Sort of... "Oh, yeah, and he leaped over the backboard, did a 720, cured cancer, then dunked. Hey, could you pass the vodka, my glass is empty"... kind of way. I like your word choices. "Cute" was in describing the rest of the league trying to keep up with Kobe, as in "Aren't they cute?"

I drove super-fast one time, too. Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | November 18, 2010 at 08:22 AM
*
WTH? No, No, NO! Not you too DBDH!! SWEET JESUS!!!!...Actually I've done it several times myself!!! LMAO!!

Portland did NOT make a mistake. They got plain unlucky. I hate the Blazers. But that does not mean we should call they committed a blunder :)

Posted by: Kobefan in Cupertino | November 18, 2010 at 06:08 AM
=====

Your entire post was superb! Fans and the media love to use the retrospectoscope to criticize GMs for making "mistakes." That's a very easy thing to do and in some cases it's justified. Considering some of the brilliant things that Kevin Pritchard did with the Blazers, that's simply wrong. Now, Michael Jordan's history is a little easier to criticize because he rarely gets it right! Kwame? The Stache? Taking Buzz Kill and his ridiculous contract off our hands and GIVING us Shannon Brown? Signing Jason Richardson to an absurd contract, then trading him for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell? Well maybe that one wasn't so bad, but what a resume!

63 - LMAO - it's all good, bruh. Justa havin a little fun. BUT - thanks for the compliment - always much appreciated coming from such a great blogger as yourself! And no - not messin around with that - truly meant.

@Art,

There must be something to this "tough love" thing. I don't even like teenagers, mostly because of the dicisions they make. I therefore have a tendancy to torture them more than usual. But, I am far and away the most favorite teacher here at my school.

They won't stay away! No matter how surely I get.

But, on the other hand, I teach advanced math and science, so most of my students are 17-18. Adults in other words. They get very little sympathy from their parents. They have no one to cry to if I hurt their little feelings. Except each other -- and you know how THAT goes.

It keeps me and my big mouth out of trouble, though. So, do not take this as a complaint.

It is very difficult trying to keep this group alive, though.

--FEARless

@Justa - I agree with FEARless that game recognizes game. Or in my case "no game" recognizes game.

@Justa - I agree with FEARless that game recognizes game. Or in my case "no game" recognizes game. Posted by: LRob | November 18, 2010 at 08:30 AM
*
It's only the truly great ones that can be modest like this Folks!!!

63 Footer,

Nice musical selection. And very apropos. Though my musical taste isn't for much of the Indie or Alternative Rock. I'm mostly R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, Classical, Jazz, and Rock-and-Roll. So, of course I'm familiar with Jan and Dean. Beck crosses over a bit, so I knew that one, too. Plus, I got to practice my Japanese with the Beck clip. ;)

--FEARless

FEARless,

Good for you for getting through to them and earning the respect of those students. That's actually quite an accomplishment. I am totally in favor of that tough love philosophy, and by that I don't mean beating kids.

But I had to laugh at your comment that most of them are adults, 17-18.
I'm not laughing at you or making fun of what you said, but unfortunately I must have had to interact with a different group of 17-18 yr olds. I have managed hundreds of them over the last, umm, too many years, and while legally they may be adults at 18, they were far, far away from being anything close to adult. Many of them couldn't even spell adult.

You must have hit on a successful approach and I respect what you do.

LRob - come on. You?? No game?? Right. It's like Kobe saying I can't play basketball.

*________________________________________________________________________*
This Selection I dedicate to…..Yes, Yes, Yes!!! The Fabulous Justanothermambafan
http://tinyurl.com/mhmc3t - We Are One – Frankie Beverly & Maze
*________________________________________________________________________*

@Art,

Thanks for the compliment. I love to teach, don't really care who I teach to, and I am credentialed to teach every age group including preschool (though I will never, never, never, never, EVER again teach Middle-/Jr. High School -- those people aren't even human). I think that is what they see, my passion for my craft. They seem to take the curmudgeon as the price of admission.

But, when I show exasperation and frustration for a student's performance and/or behavior I can tell them. I don't have to sanitize my comments (I don't use profanity at all anyway), and I don't have to be politically correct. If I make someone cry (that has actually happened lots of times), the people around them chalk it up to an important life lesson and we move on. The only thing I have to make sure of is that I am not mean. Everything else if fair game.

I can't talk like that to 16-year olds. Well most 16-year olds, anyway.

Were we ever like these teenagers?

--FEARless

Right LROB

Those "Detroit Basketball" fans were very obnoxious in 2004. Sure they played defense like madmen, but they also fizzled and could not protect the rim against Lebron the next few years.
What a sad turn of events to see so many empty seats last night and the arena very quiet for most of the game. With no Sheed, Mr. Bigshot, and Ben Wallace (he was there but was practically invisible) the Pistons look lost ...ask Rip and Tayshawn...

On the other hand the Lakers are amazing and getting stronger!

Hi 63 Footer

I have valued your basketball wisdom over the past year. I think you are right, Sasha started jacking up shots and it was infectious. Maybe he is a desperate man in a contract year? I hope Phil had a talk with him. I hated to see Farmar shoot at the wrong time. BB can be a beautiful game when it flows, but when 1 guy jacks up shots before the bigs are in position to rebound then it gets embarassing.

Keep sharing your excellent commentary 63 Footer, I esp. liked your insights into Laker oldschool players (Wilt, Kareem, etc.)

The 2010 Heat remind me of the old 1960's Lakers with 2 great HOF players(West & Baylor). They can score and win a lot in the regular season, but come playoffs BB is a defense and team sport! Heat may not make it out of the East.

Jamie Sweet

Excellent wrestling reference! Yo umade my day! Capain Lou was such a marvel!
The Pistons just came back from a long roadtrip, but didn't Bnn look smaller and like he is just collecting a paycheck?
Chris Wilcox should bring more inside presence that that!

 
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