Bryant's extended play pays off for Lakers

LOS ANGELES • Byron Scott went with his gut on Sunday and the Los Angeles Lakers avoided equalling their worst 10-game start in franchise history with a 97-85 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Lakers coach decided to stick with Kobe Bryant for longer stretches than he normally does, with the plan of resting the veteran for this morning's (Singapore time) National Basketball Association contest against Phoenix Suns.

"We talked during a timeout, and I said I might as well play you the rest of this (fourth) quarter and just sit you out for tomorrow," Scott said of the game at Staples Centre. "He said he was fine with that." So were the Lakers.

Forward Bryant compiled 17 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in a season-high 36 minutes, and the Lakers snapped a four-game skid.

Guard Jordan Clarkson also had 17 points for Los Angeles, who are 2-8 - one game better than last season's Lakers.

Bryant made just six of 19 shots from the floor but was effective in involving his team-mates.

Guard Nick Young came off the bench to score 13 points for the Lakers, whose only other victory was over the Brooklyn Nets.

Centre Roy Hibbert chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Los Angeles converted 41.3 per cent of their shots compared to only 36.5 per cent for Detroit.

"We've got to get this win here at home," Bryant, 37, said. "(But) right now, I'm barely standing up.

"My back and my legs, (they're) killing me. I go home and I'm looking forward to that ice bath and the stretch, and a full day of recovery tomorrow...

"I'm not looking forward to walking to the car. Seriously."

Reserve guard Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 17 points for Detroit (5-5).

Centre Andre Drummond extended his streak of double-doubles to 10 in a row with 17 points and 17 rebounds.

However, he and the Pistons saw their losing streak extend further to four games.

Scott said Hibbert's defence on Drummond also factored in the win. "I thought Roy did a fantastic job on Drummond," said Scott, whose side were even on the boards with Detroit at 46 apiece.

Hibbert might have broken his nose during the game after taking a shot from Drummond. He said he would be re-evaluated but plans to play against the Suns.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'Bryant's extended play pays off for Lakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe