By GREG BEACHAM/AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kobe Bryant had 17 points, eight rebounds and nine assists to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 97-85 Sunday night for their second win and to avoid the worst 10-game start in franchise history.
Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points and Los Angeles snapped a four-game skid in its return from a long East Coast trip. The Lakers are only 2-8, but that’s one game better than last season’s Lakers. They finished with the worst record in the franchise’s history.
Andre Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons. They wrapped a six-game West Coast trip with their fourth consecutive loss.
Bryant went 6 for 19 from the field during a season-high 37 minutes, but otherwise played a solid floor game with a season-high in assists and moments of brilliance.
When Bryant hit a 3-pointer to put the Lakers up 85-74 with 3:44 to play, he went to midcourt and high-fived Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, the three Americans who foiled an attempted assault on a French train in August. The trio was at the game as guests of the Lakers.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 17 points for Detroit, which has lost 12 of its last 13 matchups with the lowly Lakers, including both meetings last season.
Before the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Lakers had already planned a first-half tribute to Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler, who was wearing a Lakers T-shirt when the trio helped subdue a gunman in August. Sadler wore the same shirt to this game. They received personalized Lakers jerseys and a lengthy standing ovation before watching from courtside seats. Before the game, they also met Bryant, Sadler’s favorite player. The Lakers held a pregame moment of silence and played the French national anthem in tribute to the attack victims.
Coach Byron Scott will wait until Monday to decide whether Bryant will play at Phoenix that night. Scott has adjusted the times that Bryant plays in games, keeping him fresher and lessening the stiffness in his back. “We’ll just keep doing it,” Scott said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good solution.”
Pistons: They shot their first free throw with 3:26 left in the second quarter. … Drummond got his 10th straight double-double, the league’s longest season-opening streak for double-digit points and rebounds since Zach Randolph’s 11 straight in 2012. … Rookie Stanley Johnson, an Orange County native, had four points and five fouls in 16 minutes.
Lakers: First-round draft pick Larry Nance Jr. made his Staples Center debut in the first half and immediately energized the Lakers with six points in his first 5 minutes, including an alley-oop conversion from Bryant.
Pistons: Host Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Lakers: At Suns on Monday night. Los Angeles plays 11 of its next 15 on the road after starting with six of its first nine games away from home. The Lakers will be done with 41.5 percent of their road schedule by Dec. 12.
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