Jordan Hill’s career game carries Lakers to 114-99 win over Pistons

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The Detroit Pistons brought a young, aggressive, shot-blocking and paint-dominating frontcourt to try to stick it to the Lakers.

Nothing Jordan Hill couldn’t handle.

He pushed back against the Pistons’ brawn, getting career highs with 24 points and 17 rebounds in the Lakers’ 114-99 victory Sunday at Staples Center.

GAME SUMMARY: Lakers 114, Pistons 99


Known primarily as a lottery bust his first four seasons, Hill has been a discovery since Coach Mike D’Antoni inserted him into the starting lineup, averaging 18.8 points and 12 rebounds in four games.

D’Antoni was cautious after Hill’s first start, a 21-point, 11-rebound effort against New Orleans. Wait and see, D’Antoni urged.

Now everybody sees a hustling, energetic guy trying to help the talent-starved Lakers win via vigor.

The Pistons came into the game with an NBA-best average of 51 points in the paint. They scored 52 in the paint Sunday but couldn’t keep Hill out of it.

“Basically, J-Hill doing his thing,” said Hill, who made a career-high 11 baskets in 16 attempts.

The Lakers, of course, hope he keeps doing it — scoring off hustle plays, plucking rebounds, setting screens and defending in the post.

He wasn’t so great defensively Friday against Memphis, getting beat numerous times by Zach Randolph late in the game.

But he more than held his own against Detroit’s frontcourt trio of Josh Smith (18 points), Greg Monroe (17 points) and Andre Drummond (14 points).

“He’s a bruiser down there,” Lakers point guard Steve Blake said. “He goes out there with reckless abandonment and throws his body around and he’s strong. That’s just the way he plays and I think he’ll continue to do that.”

The Lakers (5-7) don’t even run set plays for Hill, 26, the eighth pick in the 2009 draft who was acquired from Houston in March 2012 for Derek Fisher and a 2012 first-round pick.

The Lakers liked Hill enough to re-sign him a few months later, but he sustained a torn labrum in his hip last season and missed 49 games.

He’s in the final year of a contract paying him $3.5 million this season, about $2 million below the league average.

There’s also the other player continually lauded by D’Antoni for always playing hard.

Blake’s 16 assists were two from his career high and he had 10 or more assists in a fourth consecutive game, the first time it ever happened in his 11-year career.

He smiled when told he was making some fantasy basketball teams happy.

“You mean somebody picked me up?” he said.

He was close to a triple-double Friday against Memphis (nine points, 10 assists, seven rebounds) and added nine points and four steals Sunday.

After Smith stole the ball near midcourt on a bad outlet pass, Blake moved quickly to steal the ball back, leading to Nick Young’s fastbreak layup in the third quarter.

And there was Blake jockeying for a rebound with Monroe in the fourth quarter.

Monroe is 6 feet 11, Blake 6 feet 3. The ball fell out of bounds off Monroe’s hands, but Blake was called for a foul.

The Pistons (3-6) led at halftime, 56-50, and had the play of the night, Brandon Jennings’ off-the-backboard pass to Drummond for a dunk.

The Lakers, though, took over from there, winning the second half by a surprising 64-43 count.

Jodie Meeks continued his shooting streak with 19 points and Young had 19 off the bench.

But the story was Hill. How could it not be with three career highs?

“It was like playing against myself,” said Drummond, a hard-charging rebounder and shot-blocker. “Nonstop movement. He runs around, rebounds and plays hard, so it was like playing a clone of myself.”

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan