After 42 minutes on Sunday, an exhausted Kobe Bryant skipped the team's shootaround on Tuesday morning. When the ball went up, however, Bryant was on the court.
Bryant's fatigue showed early, but the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a 106-96 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
In the first quarter, Bryant committed three turnovers and missed three shots. However, he found a way to create for his teammates, and even his turnovers were examples of the superstar forcing passes to his teammates.
Veteran forward Carlos Boozer continued his trend of strong shooting early in games. The 33-year-old made four of his first six shots to log eight points in the first quarter. Off the bench, Nick Young came in to help Boozer carry the offensive load.
Young's knack for getting fouled in the act of shooting came in handy, and by halftime, the trigger happy sixth man had 10 points to his name. Wayne Ellington also helped pick up the slack off the bench, as the backup shooting guard notched six points in fewer than nine first-half minutes. He would finish with nine points for the game.
In a game that neither team led by more than five points in the first half, the Lakers came out and put together a strong third quarter. Bryant scored his first basket and then quickly reminded everyone he can score in a hurry. Bryant scored 12 straight points for the Lakers, and the visitors opened their lead to 21 points late in the third period.
Usually, the Lakers come out slow and fall apart in the third period. On this night, the Lakers outscored the Pistons 35-20 in the quarter. Bryant also hit the 10-assist mark in the third quarter, although that number was balanced by Bryant's six turnovers.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers were up by 16 points and losing to a team that was on an eight-game losing streak would be difficult to imagine. The Lakers' bench started the quarter with energy and managed to keep the Pistons at bay. However, the lead dropped to 10 points just short of the halfway mark of the final period.
Immediately, Lakers coach Bryon Scott switched all five players and brought back his starters. With six minutes to play, the Lakers' starters had to hold a 10-point lead against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Jordan Hill would make his presence felt with timely buckets down the stretch. He would get his 10th double-double of the season before the final buzzer. Hill finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, which were team-highs in both categories.
Bryant would finish with a dubious triple-double: 12 points, 13 assists and 10 turnovers. Still, the Lakers won, so the players walked off smiling. The Lakers now have won two in a row and have won three of their last four road games.
Next, the Lakers will play on Wednesday night in Washington D.C.