D'Angelo Russell
Lakers-Pistons Preview
D'Angelo Russell

Lakers-Pistons Preview

Published Dec. 5, 2015 1:08 p.m. ET

As his farewell tour continues, Kobe Bryant returns to the site of one of the lower moments of his brilliant career.

Bryant will play his final game at the Palace of Auburn Hills when the Lakers reach the midway point of their eight-game road trip Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons.

Bryant's most memorable games in Detroit are ones he'd rather forget. In 2004, a Lakers team that included Shaquille O'Neal and Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton lost three straight there as the underdog Pistons won the NBA Finals in five. Bryant shot 32.2 percent in those three games.

The 37-year-old is 10-6 while averaging 23.1 points at the Palace during the regular season. His most recent trip was a mixed bag, as Bryant had 10 turnovers and went 4 of 11 from the field but posted 13 assists in a 106-96 win Dec. 2, 2014. He also had a career-high 11 turnovers there in 2008.


Bryant's 30.4 field goal percentage remains the lowest among qualifying players this season, and he was 4 of 19 in a 14-point effort in Friday's 100-87 loss at Atlanta. The two-time scoring champion did turn back the clock two days earlier, amassing a season-high 31 points to help Los Angeles (3-16) halt a seven-game skid with a 108-104 victory at Washington.

Bryant also will make his last stops in Toronto and Minnesota on this eight-game trek that began Tuesday in his home city of Philadelphia.

''Even though my body is sore, this moment is not coming again," he said. "Pulling up to the arena, getting ready for the game. It's not going to happen again. Walking down the tunnel and so forth. It's important to enjoy these moments as much as possible.''

Los Angeles has won seven straight over Detroit (11-9) and six of seven on the road, though the resurgent Pistons figure to make it tough for that success to continue. Detroit is 7-2 at the Palace and looking to complete a perfect four-game homestand after beating Milwaukee 102-95 on Friday.

Reggie Jackson has ignited the three-game win streak by averaging 29.3 points and 9.7 assists. The Pistons are 7-0 when he has more than 20 points.

Jackson scored 23 on Friday and Andre Drummond grabbed 23 rebounds to go with 17 points for his league-high 18th double-double. Marcus Morris also had 23 points following a 24-point, 14-rebound performance against his former Phoenix team.

"We're really fortunate to have him," coach Stan Van Gundy said of Morris. "We thought he was good when we got him, and he's better than I thought he was. He can do a lot of things on the floor, he can shoot the ball, he can go after the three (and) he can pass."

The Lakers continue to receive up-and-down games from their expected future stars in this transitional season. Julius Randle totaled 15 points and a career-high 19 rebounds against Washington, but he was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting by the Hawks and grabbed just five boards. Rookie D'Angelo Russell combined seven turnovers with his first double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds versus Atlanta.

"It's still a learning curve for him," coach Byron Scott said of Russell. "Made some mistakes on both ends of the floor, but I thought offensively he seems to be more comfortable in what we're doing."

The Pistons, losers of 12 of 13 in the series, last defeated Los Angeles 88-85 on March 6, 2012.


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