Originally written November 05, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard scored 28 points, Kobe Bryant had 15 points and eight assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers finally got their first victory of the season, 108-79 over the winless Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Metta World Peace scored 18 points and Pau Gasol added 14 for the Lakers, who went 0-8 in the preseason and started the regular season 0-3 for just the fourth time in franchise history despite adding Howard and Steve Nash over the summer. The Lakers' growing worries about their new offense and their roster's durability vanished for a day against the struggling Pistons, who never led. Jonas Jerebko scored 18 points for Detroit in the second stop on a difficult six-game road trip. Los Angeles took a 28-point lead in the first half and stretched it to 36 points in the third quarter, with Howard dominating the paint and Bryant slipping easily into a playmaking role in the injured Nash's absence. The Lakers earned their first victory in nearly five weeks together since the start of training camp, and they occasionally resembled the powerhouse most expected to see this season -- even if it's without Nash, who missed his second straight game with a small fracture in his left leg. Howard excelled in the paint against Greg Monroe, hitting 12 of 14 shots -- most of them right at the rim -- and grabbing seven rebounds with just one foul. Bryant appeared to play easily on his sore foot, taking just 10 shots and grabbing seven rebounds. The Lakers' starters played only token minutes in the fourth quarter, giving them valuable rest before Wednesday's trip to Utah. The Lakers began the regular season by dropping games to Dallas, Portland and the Clippers, but they've only started a season 0-4 once in franchise history -- and that was in 1957, back in Minneapolis. Los Angeles hadn't even started a season 0-3 since 1978 -- but that team won 15 of its next 16 games. While the Lakers wait a week to learn the severity of Nash's injury, Steve Blake had six assists and a career high-tying five steals in his starting spot. Backup Darius Morris also played well with six points, but Gasol and Bryant are likely to be the Lakers' most important playmakers until Nash returns. Detroit's five starters all struggled mightily, going a combined 11 for 39 -- including Brandon Knight's 1-for-8 performance. Rodney Stuckey's shooting slump reached three games, with the starting guard going 0 for 6 to drop to 1 for 23 this season. The Pistons also might wonder if the NBA's schedule-makers used Apple Maps to plot the schedule: Detroit must travel to Denver for a game Tuesday, only to return to California to face the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday before heading back out to Oklahoma City. The Lakers looked energized from the opening tip against Detroit, with Howard and Gasol repeatedly demanding the ball down low against Jason Maxiell and Monroe. Los Angeles closed the first quarter on a 23-5 run, with Gasol and Howard combining for 21 points. Bryant embraced a role as the facilitator of Los Angeles' offense, racking up eight assists in the first half while his teammates thrived. Howard might be feeling more confident with his surgically repaired back, getting 20 points and six rebounds in the first half while giving Lakers fans their first look at the aggression and ball sense that made him a superstar in Orlando. NOTES: The Lakers hadn't started 0-3 at home since 1959. ... Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham played on the Pistons' 2004 championship team, which upset the Lakers in the NBA finals. ... Flea, will.i.am, Andy Garcia and Jeremy Sisto attended the game.
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