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News » Lakers pull away from Pistons

Lakers pull away from Pistons

Lakers pull away from Pistons
AUBURN HILLS -- It wasn't easy in the first half to tell the difference between the team fighting for the top spot in the NBA playoffs -- the Los Angeles Lakers -- and the one threatening to slip off the other end -- the Detroit Pistons .

Then came the second half.

Los Angeles won its 57th game of the season, one fewer than Cleveland's 58, by pulling away from the Pistons for a 92-77 victory Thursday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Pistons, still without three key injured players in Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson, lost for the seventh time in the past nine games.

The Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant's 30 points, won for the ninth time in the past 11 games and split the season series with the Pistons.

Pistons fan Aretha Franklin was in the house, and the "Queen of Soul" watched the Lakers earn

R-E-S-P-E-C-T with a stunning rally in the third quarter.

She also watched Detroit reserve guard Will Bynum compiled career highs in scoring (25 points) and assists (11), and forward Antonio McDyess notch another double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds).

The Pistons lost a 10-point lead quickly in the second half and trailed by 15 when the fourth quarter started.

It fell apart when Bynum left the game 6 minutes into the third quarter. The Lakers outscored the Pistons 31-13 in the third quarter.

"We just didn't finish the rest of that quarter off when he went out," Detroit coach Michael Curry said.

"Against them, the way they like to zone up, a lot like Boston, you got to have shooting bigs and guards who can penetrate. That's why Will caused them problems.

"They are the number one team in the league right now. It's pretty much simple as that. Once Will wasn't able to get in the paint and create for us, it was pretty tough."

Bynum said his play is simply a product of getting comfortable and taking advantage of the opportunity to play.

"I've been positive all season, even when I was sitting," he said. "So that kind of helped me keep that same positive mentality once I got on the court."

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said his team's ability to slow Bynum down once he returned to the game in the second half was critical.

"He still had a career game for himself and played exceptionally well, but I thought we did better things on him, and offensively we stepped it up," he said.

Curry said when Hamilton returns Saturday in Washington as expected, Bynum will continue in his role as backup point guard. His minutes will be limited in that regard because Rodney Stuckey will not move to the shooting guard spot, but stay at the point.

"But we still expect Will to be aggressive when he is in there," Curry said. "We're not surprised by his play."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 30, 2009


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