Five takeaways from the Lakers' 93-85 win over the Detroit Pistons

What we learned from the Lakers' victory over the Detroit Pistons, 93-85

The Lakers (17-46) ended a five-game losing streak with a win on Tuesday night over the Detroit Pistons (23-40). Here are five takeaways from their 93-85 victory at Staples Center.

1. Kobe Bryant sat with his teammates on the bench for the second time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.

"Having him on the bench and talking to those guys is fantastic," said Coach Byron Scott. I think those guys are like sponges when he talks to them. They're gathering as much information as possible to try to help them become better basketball players.

"Kobe knows the culture of this franchise as well as anybody, so for him to relay the message to them about how the game should be played, and what this organization is all about, there's no better player to do it."

2. The Lakers have often struggled in third quarters, but on Tuesday they held the Pistons scoreless for the first six minutes and 17 seconds of the period. Detroit scored just 11 points in the quarter, a defensive best for the Lakers this season.

"It was brutal. I mean absolutely brutal," said Pistons Coach Stan Van Gundy. "I feel for them a little bit. Again, I thought they fought hard, they just can't get the ball in the basket right now."

"One thing I would say, we did a really good job defensively," said Jeremy Lin. "In the third quarter, we had a good defensive effort that carried into the fourth. Every time they had a small run, we cut it off."

Despite a career-high eight assists for Jordan Clarkson, Scott stuck with Lin to close out the game.

3. The Lakers are 10-14 against the Eastern Conference this season, with six to play (along with 13 against the West). Despite their overall performance this year, the Lakers could finish the season with a winning record against the East.

The Lakers are 8-4 at home but just 2-10 on the road versus the opposing conference.

4. Andre Drummond had a huge night on the glass with 21 rebounds, including six offensive. Greg Monroe finished with nine rebounds, and yet the Lakers finished with 46 as a team to Detroit's 41.

The Lakers got to the line 30 times, making 26 (86.7%) while the Pistons attempted 19, converting 13 (68.4%). Monroe missed a crucial pair late in the game that could have changed the outcome.

5. The Lakers still have the fourth-worst record in the NBA, important for positioning in the draft lottery, given that the Lakers will have to surrender their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns) if it's not a top-five selection.

The Lakers are "behind" the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-48), the 76ers (14-49) and the New York Knicks (12-51). The closest two teams to the Lakers in the standings are the Orlando Magic (21-44) and Sacramento Kings (21-41).

With 19 games to play, the Lakers seem to have a firm advantage at holding at least the fourth position in the lottery. The team still plays the Wolves and Sixers twice each, and the Knicks once. The Knicks and Sixers still play each other twice as well.

The only way the Lakers can 100% guarantee themselves a top-five pick is to finish with the first- or second-worst record in the NBA. At third-worst, their odds are still high at 96%, but in their current fourth-worst position, it's a less comfortable 83.8%.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
74°