Kobe's 30 help Lakers roll past Pistons
Kobe Bryant had a reason to smile when he left The Palace for a change.
Bryant scored 30 points and helped the Los Angeles Lakers beat Detroit 92-77 Thursday night, snapping a nine-game losing streak on the Pistons' home court.
"It feels good to finally walk out of here with a win," said Bryant, who helped Los Angeles score the last 20 points of the third quarter to surge ahead for good.
Including three losses in the 2004 NBA finals, the Lakers hadn't won on the road against the Pistons since Jan. 8, 2002.
The Western Conference-leading Lakers earned their fourth straight victory to pull within a game of NBA-leading Cleveland, and five in a row on the road for a league-high 26 this season.
"One of our goals is to have the best record before the playoffs start to have home-court advantage," Lamar Odom acknowledged.
At this point, the once-mighty Pistons simply are hoping to make the playoffs.
They were without Allen Iverson (back), Richard Hamilton (groin) and Rasheed Wallace (calf) against the Lakers.
"They were short-handed," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We should've won."
Hamilton is expected back on Saturday at Washington, where Wallace might also return, and the team hopes Iverson will be able to play next week.
"It's a psychological lift knowing they're going to return soon," coach Michael Curry said.
Detroit desperately needs the trio on the court to salvage some pride in a season that has steadily unraveled since trading Chauncey Billups to Denver for Iverson in November.
The Pistons lost their third straight game and seventh of nine, falling into a seventh-place tie with Chicago in the Eastern Conference. They're 18-19 at home and three games under .500 overall.
"They've had some trouble," Byrant said. "But when the playoffs come around, I don't think anybody wants to play this team."
Detroit reserve Will Bynum had career highs with 25 points and 11 assists and helped his banged-up team outscore the Lakers 30-14 in the second quarter to lead 42-39.
The Pistons built a 10-point lead early in the second half and were ahead by five midway through the third quarter when Bryant made a layup and Trevor Ariza had consecutive putback dunks to spark a 20-0 run.
"We took Will Bynum out of the game and nobody else could do anything," Detroit's Tayshaun Prince said. "He's the reason we had the lead at the half and the reason we made that comeback in the second quarter.
"Once he came out - end of the ballgame."
Los Angeles looked as if it was going to rout the struggling Pistons when it led 25-12, marking a low first-quarter total for an opponent, but their Bynum-led bench dominated the second quarter.
The Lakers, though, ended any doubts about the outcome by outscoring Detroit 31-13 in the third quarter and coasted to victory.
Derek Fisher scored 15 points for the Lakers, and Odom and Pau Gasol each had 12 points.
"Those guys were playing well as a team and when they do that it's a lot easier for Kobe to pick his spots," Prince said.
Detroit's Antonio McDyess had 14 points - making him its only double-digit scorer other than Bynum - and 12 rebounds.
Bryant did not answer a question about his former housekeeper suing him and his wife. The former housekeeper contends she was "harassed and humiliated," denied health insurance and forced to quit because of "intolerable" working conditions. ... Detroit handed the Lakers their first loss at home this season, winning by 11 points in mid-November, and has beaten each division leader this season. ... Jackson led the Lakers for the 727th game, tying the team record for games coach set by Pat Riley. ... Detroit C Kwame Brown played for the Lakers from 2005-08 and his last game for them was against the Pistons before being traded to Memphis in the Gasol trade. ... Lakers C Andrew Bynum, who has been out since Jan. 31 with a torn ligament in his right knee, can run and do some basketball drills, but Jackson said he's not close to even practicing with the team. ... Aretha Franklin attended the game. ... Bynum surpassed his career-high 22-point game last week against the Clippers and career-high nine-assist game Tuesday against Chicago.