Pistons Overcome Bryant, Lakers
Detroit 102, L.A. Lakers 93
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan, Jan. 29 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant seemingly cannot be stopped. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, neither can the Detroit Pistons.
Rasheed Wallace scored 24 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as the Pistons extended their season-high winning streak to 11 games with a 102-93 victory over the Lakers, who got 39 points from Bryant.
"The thing about it is, we've got five superstars out there," said Detroit guard Richard Hamilton, who scored 20 points. "We want one guy to go out there and average 30, we can do that. But we know what we want at the end. We want to win a championship."
The league's leading scorer at 35.8 points per game, Bryant scored 25 on 8-of-15 shooting to keep Los Angeles within striking distance, 56-47, at the break.
"I was just trying to keep us in the game," Bryant said.
Bryant added four more points early in the second half to cut the deficit to 58-51 with 10:26 left in the third period. But Detroit pulled away with a 20-6 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes.
Tayshaun Prince started the burst with a dunk and scored seven more points before Wallace capped the spurt with a 3-pointer, making it 78-57 with 2:59 left.
Bryant was held to just six points in the period, when Los Angeles made 6-of-16 shots from the field and committed nine turnovers. Conversely, Detroit shot 59 percent (13-of-22) in the quarter and turned over the ball only once.
"We just wanted to tighten it up a little bit, get in the passing lanes, force them to go to their second or third options, not allow them to just catch the ball where they want to catch it at," said Detroit's Ben Wallace, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds. "Once we came out and did that, we had a little success with it."
The Lakers never really threatened in the final period, with Bryant's 3-pointer making it 100-93 with 41 seconds left.
Prince scored 19 points and Chauncey Billups had 10 and six assists for the Pistons, who handed out 23 assists against just 10 turnovers.
"We were operating on all pistons," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Everyone was doing their own thing, whether it was Rasheed, Ben, Chauncey with some nice assists, Rip (Hamilton) or Tayshaun, they were all playing extremely well."
Comparatively, Los Angeles recorded just 14 assists - its second-lowest total of the season.
"We did some good things out there, but some of our players didn't look ready to play," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
Bryant made 12-of-28 shots overall and has averaged 43.7 points over his last 12 games, including his historic 81-point performance against Toronto on January 22.
"Tonight, it didn't matter if he had 50, 40, 20, 10, the idea was for us to win," Saunders said. "It wasn't Kobe Bryant against us. It was the Lakers against Detroit."
Bryant discarded the notion that the Lakers and Pistons are rivals, despite playing each other in the NBA Finals two seasons ago.
"Rivalry? If we want to get this back to the old days of Pistons-Lakers, we've got some catching up to do," Bryant said. "We'll get there."
It was just the second time in history the Pistons have beaten the Lakers four straight times in the regular season. It also happened during the 1973-74 campaign, when they met six times.