Another arena, another standing ovation for Kobe Bryant who played his final game at Palace of Auburn Hills and was greeted by the Detroit Pistons PA announcer with much dignity and grace.
But unfortunately that was the only highlight of the night for the Los Angeles Lakers who came out flat, going down 15-0 to start the first period.
The game was not even close, as the Pistons led wire to wire by as many as 30 to cruise to their 12th win of the season, 111-91. Reggie Jackson, who finished with 20 points, six assists and three steals, was the stimulus early in the game for Detroit.
But it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who led them in scoring with 22 points, including four rebounds and four steals on 9 of 14 shooting.
Andre Drummond did what he normally does, notching a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds.
The only two players to play significantly well for the Lakers were Lou Williams and Julius Randle. Williams poured in 21 points off the bench in 31 minutes, while Randle managed a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Bryant, who left the game after the third quarter due to stomach flu, had just five points on 2 of 15 shooting. He was unlikely to play tonight but opted to suit up since it was his final game at the Palace.
“If it wasn’t my last season, I probably wouldn’t have played,” Bryant said.
Jordan Clarkson, the most consistent Laker this season, concluded with seven points on 3 of 11 shooting, having one of his worst games of the year.
“I missed shots today because I was playing selfish…taking shots that I don’t usually take,” Clarkson said after the loss.
Byron Scott elected to play Nick Young tonight, who had back-to-back DNP-CD’s. But Young did not impress in seven minutes of play, recording zero points on 0 for 3 shooting and was ejected early in the fourth quarter for shoving Anthony Tolliver after a not-so-hard foul that Tolliver committed on Young.
“I thought he probably overreacted a little bit,” Coach Scott said of Young’s foolish reaction to Tolliver’s foul.
Young has been frustrated due to lack of playing time and inability to shoot the ball well this season, which he blames for his unnecessary reaction.
The Lakers were out-rebounded, 61-40, giving up 17 offensive rebounds to the Pistons. Once again, they failed to move the ball around as well, recording 12 team assists. Embarrassingly, Marcelo Huertas led them in assists with four off the bench in 12 minutes.
The Pistons had a seven-game losing streak to the Lakers which they snapped tonight to improve to 12-9 on the season, winning their fourth consecutive game overall. They have a crucial matchup coming up against the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Lakers drop to 3-17, having lost the last nine out of 10 games. Their road trip continues Monday against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Despite a stomach virus, Bryant plans to play tomorrow in Toronto.
“If I’m walking, I’m playing,” he said.