NBA.com Daily Confidential

The Los Angeles Lakers look to continue building momentum on their season-high eight-game road trip when they try for their first road win over the Detroit Pistons in more than five years.

The Lakers (30-19) have won three of their last four games, and are 3-2 on their eight-game, 13-day trip. Los Angeles completed a rare season series sweep of Atlanta on Monday with a 90-83 victory.

Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which staved off a late Hawks charge to sweep two games from Atlanta for the first time in seven years.

"A couple of years ago I probably would have tried to end up with 25 points in the fourth quarter," Bryant said. "Now it's not what's important. Once I got on a roll, saw they were double and triple-teaming, I was able to use myself as a decoy."

Now Los Angeles will try to end their road losing streak against Detroit as they go for their third win in a row. The Lakers have lost four consecutive regular season games at The Palace, and dropped all three games there during the 2004 NBA Finals.

The average margin of those seven defeats was 15 points, and the Lakers haven't won at The Palace since Jan. 8, 2002.

Los Angeles is the only team in the Western Conference with an overall winning record and a below-.500 record on the road. The Lakers, 11-13 away from Staples Center, are third in the West with 19 home wins.

Thursday's meeting will close out the season series between Los Angeles and Detroit. The Pistons (29-18) beat the Lakers 97-83 on Nov. 10, holding Bryant to two points in the first three quarters before he finished with 19. Tayshaun Prince scored 31 points for Detroit.

The Pistons are coming off a somewhat discouraging 109-102 victory over Boston on Tuesday in the opener of a five-game homestand. Despite shooting a season-high 57.9 percent against a team that came in with 14 straight losses, Detroit nearly blew a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Pistons, though, held on for their fourth straight victory after the starters re-entered the game, giving them their longest winning streak since a five-game run from Dec. 16-26.

"Your main guys should have the opportunity to sit down and ice in the fourth quarter of a game like that," coach Flip Saunders said after his team was outscored 35-20 in the final period. "We had to bring those guys back with five minutes left to make sure we won the thing."

Detroit had six players score in double figures, including two reserves. Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 24 points and seven assists, while Chris Webber added 17 points, six boards, six assists and four steals.

"I didn't expect to get back in there but we started playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win," said Billups, Detroit's starting point guard who scored seven of his club's final nine points. "We came back in and it was a matter of being aggressive."

Saunders said Tuesday's scare won't impact how he approaches Thursday's contest.

"We have a day to prepare for a team that plays totally different," he said. "And a team that has a player in Kobe that has the ability to go out and get 50, 60, 81 (points) any night. So you have to prepare a little bit differently against them."

The Pistons have won three straight at The Palace.


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