"We played great. We shared the ball, we took care of the
ball," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "We defended well, got out
on the break. It was a great team effort."
Lakers interim coach Frank Hamblen saw essentially the reverse
from his team.
"We were very poor defensively the whole game. Pick-and-roll,
they were walking in and getting layups," Hamblen said. "We
changed at halftime and it wasn't any better.
"Offensively, our guys were confused."
Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists for the Lakers, who
came in riding a season-high three-game win streak. With Detroit
defenders tight on him the entire game, Bryant got off just 12
shots from the floor, making six.
He thought the Pistons looked all too familiar.
"They are clicking right now. They are playing like the Detroit
Pistons of last year," Bryant said. "It seems like they have
started to rev up their engines."
When Detroit opened the lead to 100-79 with 5:15 remaining, many
in the sellout crowd of 18,997 booed and headed for the exits.
Detroit shot out to an 18-8 lead in the first 6:20, was up 28-19
at the end of the opening quarter and went ahead 35-19 on Antonio
McDyess's 3-pointer 48 seconds into the second period.
The Pistons led by double digits the rest of the way.
The meeting was the first between the teams in Los Angeles since
last June 8, when Bryant's 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left forced
overtime in Game 2 of the finals. The Lakers went on to win the
game 99-91, but that was their only victory in the finals.
This Lakers team bears little resemblance to that one, with
Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, Gary Payton and coach Phil Jackson
Rasheed Wallace, showing how he's harnessed the temper that led
to an NBA-record 41 technical fouls in the 2000-01 season, was
frustrated but didn't blow up when he was called for reaching in on
Bryant in the first quarter.
Wallace, who appeared to cleanly slap the ball away, avoided
trouble by doing an exaggerated trot -- mouth wide open in disbelief
-- down the court and away from the referees. By the time Wallace
turned and came back, he looked completely calm.
Brown was surprised at the Lakers' offseason breakup.
"They won three championships and went to the finals four out of
five years, and I thought they were one of the great teams. You
hate to see anything like that change, and they were relatively
young," Brown said. "And I hate to see Phil not in the league
after what he accomplished. But that's the nature of our
business." ... Detroit G Carlos Delfino, coming back from
arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, may be ready to play at
Golden State on Sunday. "He said he needed four good practices, so
we'll see about Sunday," Brown said.