Lakers 106, Pistons 102

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Forward Wesley Johnson scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Lakers used a late 12-0 run to propel them to a 106-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at The Palace.
Forward Shawne Williams had 20 points and nine rebounds and guard Jordan Farmar and center Pau Gasol had 13 points apiece for the Lakers (9-8), who have won five of their last six games.
Guard Rodney Stuckey led Detroit (6-10) with 22 points. Forward Greg Monroe and guard Brandon Jennings added 19 points apiece and forward Josh Smith supplied eight points, 19 rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
The Pistons had a 76-28 advantage in points in the paint but missed 12 of 25 free throws.
Lakers forward Jordan Hill, who posted career highs with 24 points and 17 rebounds in their 114-99 home victory over the Pistons on Nov. 17, was held to two points and left the game during the third quarter with an ankle injury.
Los Angeles scored six straight points midway through the fourth quarter to cut an eight-point deficit to 93-91. Jennings then converted three straight layups to restore Detroit's eight-point advantage, but Farmar answered with five consecutive points to make it 99-96.
Williams then buried a corner 3-pointer to tie it, Farmar made a 20-footer and guard Nick Young scored on a layup to complete the 12-0 run for a 103-99 Lakers lead.
Jennings ended Detroit's drought with a jumper. The Pistons had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Young took a charge against Smith.
The contrast between the Lakers' perimeter prowess and the Pistons' interior power could not have been more stark than the first half. Los Angeles, averaging a league-high 10.3 3-pointers per game, made eight from long range and grabbed a 56-55 halftime advantage. Johnson, who scored 18 points by the break, made half of those 3-pointers and ended the half with an alley-oop dunk.
Detroit's deficit was stunning, considering it had a 48-14 advantage in points in the paint. It didn't have an outside bucket, with its other seven points coming on free throws.
Monroe scored the Pistons' first outside bucket on a 16-footer with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter. But Detroit continued to rely on its inside strength and fast break, scoring 20 more points in the paint during the quarter while taking an 87-77 lead.
NOTES: Pistons reserve PG Will Bynum was out for the sixth time in eight games with a hamstring injury. He is scheduled to have an MRI this weekend. ... The Lakers waived rookie F Elias Harris prior to the game, reducing their roster to 14 players. Harris only appeared in two games and did not score. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond was leading the NBA in field-goal percentage (64.7 percent) and offensive rebounding (4.4 per game) and was first among Eastern Conference players in double-doubles (10). ... The Pistons wrap up their four-game homestand against Philadelphia on Sunday while the Lakers return home to play Portland that night. ... Los Angeles had won nine of the last 12 meetings. ... Detroit's inconsistent play is partly due to PG Brandon Jennings, who was acquired from Milwaukee during the offseason, learning his new teammates. "He may not agree with it but it takes a little time for him to figure out certain things," coach Mo Cheeks said. "It's not an overnight thing where you learn how to play with Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith." ... The Lakers were 6-0 when outrebounding opponents and 2-8 when they were outrebounded.

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