Whicker: Lakers beat Detroit, 14 points for the morning after

first_imgLakers 97, Detroit 85, the morning after:• Byron Scott has claimed to see improvement in the Lakers’ defense. Turns out he wasn’t hallucinating. They held the Pistons to 36.5 percent shooting Sunday. It was the fourth time in five games that L.A.’s opponent has shot 40.0 percent or lower, and Detroit was the second consecutive team to miss 20 of 27 threes against the Lakers. Detroit was also the fourth team in the past six games to fall short of 100 points against L.A.• Box score: Lakerws win 97-85 over Pistons• “A lot of it is film study, a lot of it is just harping on the fact that it’s what we need to do,” Scott said. “You’re going to miss shots, but defense can keep you in every game.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error • Roy Hibbert came out of the game with a broken nose but was breathing easier going into Monday night’s game in Phoenix, knowing he doesn’t have to go up against Andre Drummond again. Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds, but never really seized the game, and the Lakers only allowed him four offensive rebounds. “He’s a phenomenal player,” Hibbert said. “He’s definitely the future of Detroit basketball.”• The Lakers got 17 solid minutes out of rookie Larry Nance Jr. “But that’s redundant,” Scott said. “I’ve been saying that all year.’” Nance had six points and four rebounds, and all three of his baskets were facilitated in some way by Kobe Bryant, who may be better connected to Nance than any of the other young Lakers.• “Every tme he says anything, in a practice or a huddle or anywhere else, my ears are perking up,” Nance said. “I’m soaking up every bit of knowledge he has. Tonight was different because we closed it out defensively, got the rebounds we needed. Soemtimes we get caught up in the fourth quarter in playing hero ball, going one-on-one.”• Nance says he’s fully in tune with coming off the bench and raising the temperature of the game, even though he never had to do so before. “I like to look at plus-minus,” he said, referring to the point differential when he’s in the game. He was plus-15 against Detroit and plus-9 in the Lakers’ other win, at Brooklyn, but he also been a plus-player in three of the Lakers’ last four losses.• It was yet another night when D’Angelo Russell tested the Lakers’ organizational patience. Russell had only one turnover in 20 minutes but shot 3 for 9. He had several unaccompanied chances from outside. Most of his misses made weak contact with the front rim.center_img • The Lakers trailed by three in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Then they shot 57.1 percent for the period and won it, 31-17. “The ball didn’t stop in the fourth quarter,” Scott said, “it kept moving.” Bryant said that’s another function of youth. “I didn’t know anything about ball movement when I came into the league,” he said. Lots of room for punch lines there.• Bryant approached his 22nd career triple-double, which would have been his first since last Dec. 30 against Denver. He had 17 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. However, he had to play nearly 37 minutes to ensure this win, and he won’t play tonight in Phoenix. “I’m not looking forward to walking from here to the car,” he said, referring to his aching back. “I’m serious.”• The Lakers are 28th, or third-worst, in rebound percentage but got as many (46) as the Pistons had Sunday.• Marcelo Huertas, who made an appearance on the Shaqtin’ The Fool segment of Inside The NBA last week, failed to get off the bench for the fourth time in six games. The backup point guard, as suspected, will be Bryant when it isn’t Lou Williams.• Three American servicemen who apprehended a gunman on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train in August were honored with their own uniforms by the Lakers. Alex Skarlatos, Chris Norman and Spencer Stone got the applause and the jerseys during a timeout. The Lakers also played the French national anthem before the Star-Spangled Banner.• The Lakers play only three home games in the next month. But in March they play 12 of their 15 games at home. We’ll see how much it matters.last_img

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