|W. Johnson||SF||J. Smith|
|J. Hill||PF||G. Monroe|
|P. Gasol||C||A. Drummond|
|J. Meeks||SG||K. Caldwell-Pope|
|S. Blake||PG||B. Jennings|
K. Bryant: Achilles Out
S. Nash: Back Out
C. Billups Knee Questionable
Jordan Hill Leads Lakers past pistons 114-99
By Greg Beacham
November 17, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jordan Hill had career highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Jodie Meeks and Nick Young scored 19 points apiece in the Los Angeles Lakers' 114-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
Steve Blake had nine points and 16 assists for the Lakers, who made a late surge for just their second victory in six games. Los Angeles scored 16 consecutive points in a rally spanning the third and fourth quarters, holding Detroit without a field goal for more than five minutes.
Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and Andre Drummond had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost five of six. Detroit has lost 38 of its last 40 road games against Western Conference teams.
Josh Smith scored 18 for the Pistons, who went 1-3 on their four-game West Coast road swing. Playing without injured guards Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups, Detroit got 16 points off the bench from Rodney Stuckey, but struggled offensively midway through the second half of an otherwise even game.
Hill extended his impressive start to the season with another productive effort down low. Five days after moving into the starting lineup and promptly hitting his career high with 21 points against New Orleans, Hill surpassed that mark and his previous best rebounding game with relentless work down low against the Pistons' imposing front line.
Greg Monroe had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Pistons. Jennings hit 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions in the final minutes after Detroit had fallen behind by 19, but it was too late.
Detroit led for most of an uneventful first half that was punctuated by Jennings' lob pass off the backboard to Drummond for a rim-shaking dunk late in the second quarter.
Los Angeles scored the final 10 points of the third quarter, taking a 79-71 lead into the fourth on a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper by Jordan Farmar. Strong playmaking by Blake and Farmar catalyzed the rally, which continued with the first six points of the fourth.
Detroit missed six field-goal attempts and three free throws during the Lakers' rally. Los Angeles stretched its lead to 106-87 on Meeks' 3-pointer with 3:26 to play, building a lead too large to be overcome by Jennings' late 3-point spree.
After playing 12 games in 20 days to open the regular season, the Lakers get the next four days off to recover. They'll probably practice with Kobe Bryant, who returned Saturday for his first workout with his teammates since tearing his Achilles tendon in April.
Bryant still hasn't given a timetable for his return to the court. Coach Mike D'Antoni again advised patience Sunday, saying the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history still will miss "a bunch" more games, likely not returning before Thanksgiving.
The Lakers also don't know when Steve Nash will return from nerve root irritation, although the two-time MVP point guard will be examined this week.
NOTES: Billups missed his second straight game with knee tendinitis. Bynum sat out with a strained hamstring. ... Both teams wore alternate jerseys, with the Lakers in their Sunday whites and the Pistons in their blue "Motor City" jerseys. ... Pistons owner Tom Gores watched the game from a seat next to the Detroit bench. Gores, a private equity investor, lives and works in Beverly Hills.
Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni:
(On tonight’s game)
“I just thought the way they moved the ball and the way the energy that they had, on both ends of the floor, running out. You’re right there with some individual performances and there was a lot of them. Jordan Hill obviously sticks out, but the way Nick Young is playing, Wesley Johnson, and Steve Blake. I don’t want to leave anyone out because there was a lot of them that just player super. ”
(On Jordan Hill’s performance tonight)
“He is just hustling and his energy. He has put together some nice games, he’s just got to keep it right there and he can. There’s no reason why he can’t. He’s just I think more confident and more everything and more minutes. It’s just good right now.”
(On Pau Gasol’s performance tonight)
“Pau’s almost has a triple double, which is unbelievable. He’s working through some stuff, but we’re getting the team in rotations right now and obviously guys have stepped up. Nick Young, his performance off the bench, and a different guy Jodie Meeks plays Steve Blake he’s got 16 assists. There are just so many guys who played well tonight.”
>(On Jordan Farmar’s performance this season compared to last season)
“I didn’t see him a lot last year. He was out almost pretty quick when I got here and we had so many things and he had two guys ahead of him or three guys and it was not easy. He is much more confident inside. He’s got that little jump-hook. Again, most of his is by playing harder than anyone else.”
(On getting closer to their team identity)
“I think we are getting better as a team. The Identity is going to be we have to play full out for 48 and then Kobe comes back and now the identity changes, so we’re okay. We just need to win as many as we can, get as good as we can, and then try to get some guys back that causes the identity changes a little bit. Again, we’re playing defensively better; we’re running the floor better which makes them better. Guys are getting more confidence. I just hope our identity will be a good team.”
Lakers forward Jordan Hill
(On being player of the game)
“I just came out here and had a lot of energy. The whole team came out here, everyone wanted this win. We needed this win, so we just came out here and got it.”
>(On what worked so well second half)
“We just did our thing. Steve Blake got open shots, corner of the box just dishing them out. Everyone was doing the same thing.”
(On how his game is as a starter)
“Be more confident everyone time I step on the floor. When I get that confidence I feel like no one can stop me. Just go out here and keep doing what I am doing.”
Lakers center Pau Gasol
(On how this game was different from Friday’s)
“I think we were more aggressive. Tonight we played the 3rd quarter well, had a big run there, [You have to] Take control of the game and that’s what we did tonight.”
(On Jordan Hill’s rebounding)
“He was active. He puts himself in positions where the ball could go. He’s got great timing and he’s been a force rebounding the ball.”
Lakers forward Wesley Johnson
>(On the connection with Steve Blake and their three alley-oops tonight)
“It opened up tonight, but I always tell him just to throw it up there and I’ll go get it for him. After we completed the second one he said, ‘We finally got a couple to go. Now we got a couple more to go,” and I just told him to throw it.”
>(On finishing the game strong tonight after failing to do so in Friday’s loss to Memphis and what the difference was)
“[The difference was] the effort and the energy. I think that’s what really carried us over, getting stops. We definitely finished out the third quarter really strong and went on a run and that definitely carried over to the fourth and even though they had a little run, we were able to sustain [our lead] and just do it.”
(On Jordan Hill and his ability to rebound)
“That’s just will and effort. I know that he has a nose for the ball and he definitely doesn’t stop. When you see the ball hit the rim you just see him going after it and I think everybody [opponents] gets out of his way after a while because they don’t want to get run over.”
Lakers guard Nick Young
(On how he’s able to thrive in his role coming off the bench)
“I’ve been playing that role for a while. Either way [bench or starter] I have a mindset of just going in and playing my game and trying to relax more and have fun out there.”
(On bringing energy to the floor off the bench)
“[Coming off the bench] you get a chance to see the game and see who’s playing and how they’re playing. I just go out there with energy and now I’m just going out there to play.”
(On the teams next game Friday vs. the Warriors)
“We get a little rest and that should get our aching bones together and we should come out and play well Friday.”
Lakers guard Steve Blake
>(On his ability to distribute the ball tonight and his 16 assists)
“I think it starts with coach [D’Antoni] putting me in a good system in the right places and our teammates getting used to each other, the chemistry and the most important thing with assists is that your teammates make shots, so I give them all the credit for helping me get them.”
(On why this game opened up for his passing the way that it did)
“It’s just the way we play. We play with a good pace and it kind of gets them out of their defensive rhythm…it’s all about the chemistry of knowing how to set the screen and where to roll to and when our guards to back up cut out of the corner. They’re moving extremely well without the ball and that’s what it takes for a point guard to be able to get assists.”
THE FACT: Lakers forward Jordan Hill posted a career-high point total for the second time in five days, finishing with 24 points. His 17 rebounds were also a career best.
THE LEAD: Hill not only posted a career-high point total, but also contributed a career-best 17 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away in the second half to beat the Detroit Pistons 114-99 at Staples Center. Hill was just a minor part of the trade that sent the popular Derek Fisher to Houston in March 2012. The Lakers had just acquired Ramon Sessions to take over as the starting point guard, and Fisher had used up his value with the team. But less than two years later, Sessions is long gone and Hill has become as valuable as any member of the Lakers (5-7). He proved that again Sunday night.
QUOTABLE: "He's playing as hard as he can play. He's got talent and he's getting better."
--Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni on Hill
THE STAT: Lakers back-up wing Nick Young entered the game as the fourth-highest bench scorer in the NBA at 16 points per, and he finished with 19 more against the Pistons (3-6).
TURNING POINT: The Pistons were playing without guards Chauncey Billups (knee tendonitis) and Will Bynum (sore hamstring), but that prevent them from being competitive most of the evening. Their nine-point first half lead disappeared early in the third quarter but they still held a 71-69 advantage when Rodney Stuckey sank a baseline pull-up jumper late in the third quarter. But that slim lead would quickly disappear behind a 16-0 run by L.A. It began with back-to-back 3-pointers by Young and ended with Hill's teardrop runner in the lane for an 85-71 lead early in the fourth.
HOT: Hill, who scored a previous career-high of 21 points Tuesday against the visiting Pelicans, shot 11-for-16 from the field to establish another career high for field goals made. Young seems to have finally found his home as a reserve. He reached double digits for the fourth straight game and eight of nine since moving to the bench. Steve Blake seems to be settling into the point guard role after taking over for injured Steve Nash, finishing with nine points, 16 assists and four steals. Blake has assisted on 47.4 percent of L.A.'s baskets when he has been on the floor the last three games. Pistons center Andre Drummond made his first four shots before finishing with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Fellow front-courters Greg Monroe and Josh Smith also had a nice touch Sunday, combining to shoot 15-for-27 from the floor and score 35 points for Detroit. Stuckey scored 12 of his 14 points in the second quarter for the Pistons, shooting 6-for-8 in that span.
QUOTABLE II: "[The Lakers] did a better job in the second half of getting out in transition and finding that open man."
--Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks
NOT: The Pistons could have made things a lot more interesting had they made their free throws. They finished 7-for-17 from the line, compared to 10-for-10 for the Lakers. Brandon Jennings scored 23 points to lead Detroit but needed 22 shots to get there. Chris Kaman seems to be falling out of a favor with D'Antoni, playing just six minutes against the Pistons, his first time in single digits this season.
GOOD MOVE: Jennings can still score the style points. He led a fast break in the second quarter that ended with his bank pass off the glass to a trailing Drummond, who finished with a dunk to stretch the lead to 48-45. Jennings, a Southern California native, had very little room to feed the ball to Drummond and the glass looked like his only option.
BAD MOVE: The Lakers continue to be vulnerable to fast-break points, particularly after made baskets. In one glaring instance, Pau Gasol made a set shot from above the free throw line, but Smith was still able to beat him down the floor for a fast-break dunk and a 13-10 lead. The Lakers were outscored on the break, 21-17.
NOTABLE: The Pistons wore jerseys with Motor City printed across the front as a way to pay homage to the city's automobile industry. .. Detroit scored 52 points in the paint after entering as the highest-scoring NBA team in the key at 51.2 points a game. ... After playing an NBA-leading 12 games in 20 days, the Lakers don't play again until Friday at home against the Warriors.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Golden State, Sunday vs. Sacramento, Nov. 26 @ Washington. For the Pistons, Tuesday vs. New York, Wednesday @ Atlanta, Friday vs. Atlanta.