Lakers rout the Pistons behind 33 points from Kobe Bryant


By Broderick Turner
Los Angeles Times

November 18, 2010

Reporting from Auburn Hills, Mich.

The Lakers’ flight from Milwaukee to Detroit was the most difficult encounter they faced Wednesday, a topsy-turvy ordeal that left them unsettled, frightened even.

But when it came time to play basketball later that night against the underwhelming Detroit Pistons, the Lakers put on a show that gave them a 103-90 victory that really wasn’t that close at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

From the start, it seemed clear the Lakers had put the flight behind them, opening an 11-point, first-quarter lead, a lead that reached 26 points in the fourth.

Kobe Bryant led the way with 33 points and nine rebounds

“Kobe was full of business tonight,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Pau Gasol (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (15 points, 14 rebounds) each had double-doubles.

After the Lakers had won games on consecutive nights to improve to 10-2, they talked about their harrowing trip.

They landed in the early hours of Wednesday, somewhat shaken from a ride in which the plane bounced around in the air before suddenly hitting the ground.

“The way we came down, it was like they didn’t have control of the plane,” Odom said. “It hit the ground and it was like, ‘Boom!’ I heard some screaming, ‘Oh!’ The plane was fishtailing. It felt like the wheels didn’t hit the ground. It felt like we smacked.

“It just lets you know how blessed you are. Even the other team, the way they lost the game, they should feel blessed.”

No Lakers starter played more than 33 minutes and only Odom played in the fourth quarter.

“That’s what you want to see,” Bryant said. “Hopefully we can have a couple more of those.”

Jackson was right, Bryant was all about business.

The Lakers led by 22 points in the third quarter when Bryant got a steal, hustled for the ball and kept it from going out of bounds by throwing it behind his back to Odom.

“That’s our job, that’s what we’re supposed to do,” Bryant said. “You’re out there to play and you got to play hard.”

The Lakers shoot 61.1% and scored 34 points in the first quarter.

“Well, we told them to get off to an early start and everything seemed to go right for us,” Jackson said. .

Detroit (4-8) is a team that has problems, and it showed.

Richard Hamilton disagreed vehemently with the officials after fouling Bryant and was called for a technical foul. He kept talking and was given another technical and was ejected from the game with 7:01 left in the first.

Tayshaun Prince and Pistons Coach John Kuester got into an argument during a recent game at Golden Staten and had to be separated.

Rodney Stuckey got into an argument with Kuester earlier this season.

That’s what the Lakers were facing.

“It looks like some of their guys aren’t playing hard right now, too,” Jackson said. “In that regard, we were able to get after it.”