COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons, 108-79 to get their first win of the season and move to 1-3 on a disappointing start to the 2012-2013 season, and at this point, it means almost nothing in terms of the team's hopes of being the team they were billed to be.
A lot went right on Sunday night at Staples Center, most notably the defensive effort and production of newcomer Dwight Howard. His stat line looked like one from the player the Lakers mortgaged their future for -- 28 points, seven rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots in just under 33 minutes of action.
That's what the Lakers are banking on seeing from him night in and night out.
If there was ever a must-win game in the fourth contest of the season, it was on Sunday, and the Lakers responded in kind. The only caveat here is the Pistons may be one of the worst teams in the league, and the Lakers only did what they should have done in beating them handily.
A quick look at the Lakers' weaknesses early on will show why Detroit was a good remedy for the Lakers' woes. The Lakers at this point are old, slow, lack defensive stopping power and have turned the ball over at an incredible rate.
The Pistons on Sunday night gave up 108 points, turned the ball over 16 times and saw none of their starters score in double figures. They shot at a pedestrian 35.4 percent mark from the field and lost the rebounding battle 46-33.
Meanwhile, the Lakers' bench finally showed up. They added 27 points after averaging a league-worst 21.3 in 2011-2012. They still have a lot to improve upon, namely defense, but it's a very small step in the right direction.
The Lakers will have a real test on Wednesday, when they face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. It's at that point that Los Angeles will have a chance to capture some semblance of an identity this season.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Contributor Network Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor, and blogger. You can read him on SB Nation and Examiner. He is also the Editor and Founder ofSports Out West.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets