LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored
40 points for the 100th time in his career, and the Los Angeles Lakers
avoided a rare three-game losing streak with a 106-93 victory over the
Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 12
rebounds for the Lakers, who took a 28-point lead before surviving
Detroit's impressive fourth-quarter rally to avoid their first
three-game skid in nearly two years, following back-to-back losses to
Denver and Houston.
Bryant didn't appear to be slowed by
his strained groin while scoring 27 points in the middle two quarters
before reaching 40 on a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left. With four
40-point games already this season after getting just four all last
year, Kobe trails only Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173)
in 40-point games in NBA history.
Will Bynum scored 10 of his 24 points
in the final period for the Pistons, who opened a four-game West Coast
trip with their second straight loss. Detroit chopped the Lakers' lead
to 98-91 with 1:55 to play before former Michigan State guard Shannon
Brown made three free throws and a soaring dunk to seal it.
Bryant led the Lakers in scoring for
the 10th time in 11 games. Andrew Bynum also was steady again,
delivering his eighth game with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers still haven't lost three
straight games since Pau Gasol joined the club on Feb. 1, 2008,
although Gasol again was out of the lineup with a hamstring injury.
Gasol might try to play for the first time this season Thursday night
Luke Walton also will be out for six
weeks with a pinched nerve in his back — but Detroit is even more
seriously injury-depleted than the Lakers, with Richard Hamilton
(sprained right ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back injury) still out of
Although Bryant is carrying a heavy
scoring load for the Lakers early in the season, the former MVP was
revitalized by his first extended time off in several years following
Los Angeles' title. He also worked on his low-post game during his
summer off, and the results have been obvious in the season's opening
Bryant frequently took Ben Gordon and
other Detroit defenders into the low post, where he either used the
moves he learned from Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, or adroitly passed
out of double teams to set up open jumpers. Bryant also played with a
noticeable edge, jawing with several Pistons before and after scoring
Bryant scored 13 points in the
second quarter, making six of his seven shots while the Lakers went
ahead 57-42 at halftime. He was 6 for 8 in the third, scoring 14 more
points while Los Angeles gradually increased its lead to 24.
Former Lakers big man Kwame
Brown was roundly booed when he entered the game for Detroit. The
former No. 1 overall pick had nine points in 27 minutes. … The Lakers
honored Los Angeles Sparks star Lisa Leslie at halftime. Leslie retired
earlier this year. … Oliver Platt, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and
baseball great Dave Winfield were among the courtside celebrities.