With a big fourth quarter from their Jordan Farmar-led backup unit and good production from the forward, the Lakers beat Detroit, despite Kobe Bryant’s troubles.
O.C. Register: Kobe Bryant’s Lakers team delivered its best team victory of a so-far successful season Friday — just in time for the Chicago Bulls, Bryant’s long-speculated preferred trade destination, to arrive in town as the next opponent.
Despite a shaky offensive game by Bryant, the Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons, 103-91, at Staples Center. The Lakers did it because they were launched out of an offensive stupor — their 27.1 percent field-goal shooting through three quarters projected to be the franchise’s worst for a game — by their bench crew of Jordan Farmar, Maurice Evans, Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmanovic and Andrew Bynum. Their energy to start the fourth quarter was then carried to the finish by Lamar Odom and Bryant — more Odom (25 points, 15 rebounds) than Bryant (19 points on 6-of-18 shooting, seven assists).
“He kind of steadied us on a night when Kobe really struggled,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Odom.
Still distracted by rumored trades for Bryant that have largely calmed down lately, the Bulls are 1-6. The Lakers are 5-3 despite facing possibly the toughest schedule in the NBA.
When asked after the victory if it has been distracting to deal with Bryant’s stated desire to leave via trade, Jackson said: “During the preseason, it certainly was. I think there was some distraction. I think we’ve overcome that in a very interesting way, a very unusual way that I’ve never seen before. The team has come back, and Kobe has gotten his game back and his voice back on this team. And he seems to be going straight ahead.”