Lakers and NBA News - Dec. 21

With snow piling up on the east coast like a scene from "The Shining," the Lakers were barely able to exit New Jersey after their 103-84 win. Defying the odds (or just airline safety), the Lakers eventually got in the air and landed in Motown around 4 am, their game against the Pistons looming just a dozen hours in the distance. Well, judging by a "more lopsided than it sounds" 93-81 result, an abundance of sleep isn't required to beat the Pistons. Yes, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince were on the shelf, but even taking into account those absences, the Lakers actually performed like the better rested squad. Save the turnovers littering the box score (15 in all, eight in the first half), this was a largely sharp and aggressive effort by the visitors.

Wasting little time bumping their cushion to a dozen points, the Lakers worked on both sides of the ball to render the Pistons an ineffective challenger. As is typically the case, Kobe Bryant lent a hand with the scoring duties, leading all players with 28 points. Not just content to simply shred Detroit's defense, Kobe also messed up their offense, swiping the ball five times and laying the foundation for 22 homegrown turnovers. Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol grabbed ten and eleven boards respectively, the latter good for his seventh consecutive double-double. Even Andrew Bynum, whose recent funk has been anything but the kind that gets one on their feet and dancing, got into the act. 5-5 from the field (16 points), seven boards, a trio of blocks, and most importantly, a decided uptick in the energy department. The only down note: A fourth quarter where the reserve unit's sloppy play required Kobe, Pau and Ron Artest to shift from "ice down" to "suit up" mode, which displeased both Phil Jackson and Lamar Odom.