DETROIT 22 LAKERS 19
Highlight reel: The Pistons are perceived as an offensively challenged team but they can score when they get out in transition. That happened after Ben Wallace rejected a Gary Payton layup, leading to a fastbreak layup by Chauncey Billups, who had a team-high eight points in the quarter.
Not in the box score: How sloppy both teams played in a quarter that featured almost as many turnovers as baskets. With the Pistons forcing the Lakers into hurried shots and bad passes, the game definitely had an Eastern Conference feel.
Winning number: 12 free throws attempted in the quarter by the Pistons, who aggressively attacked the Lakers' perimeter defense and forced them into silly fouls.
Wrong number: 5:26, time remaining in the quarter when Kobe Bryant scored his first basket, which also was the first by a Laker not named Shaquille O'Neal, who scored the team's first 10 points.
Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 11, Bryant 4, Derek Fisher and Devean George 2; Pistons -- Billups 8, Rasheed Wallace 5, Richard Hamilton 4.
Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal 5, George 3, Karl Malone and Bryant 2; Pistons -- Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Hamilton 2.
DETROIT 40 LAKERS 41
Highlight reel: Bryant began to break out of his first-half funk late in the second quarter with two baskets and a spectacular block on his former high school rival, Hamilton. Bryant overplayed Hamilton's right and then rejected his fadeaway jumper right before halftime.
Not in the box score: How ugly Malone's offensive game looked as he badly missed one shot after another. Without much touch, Malone seemed to aim the ball instead of shooting in rhythm as he finished the first half 0 for 5 from the field.
Winning number: 20 points in the first half by O'Neal, who dominated the Pistons with his power offense, making six of eight shots. He also was sharp from the line, making eight of 12 free throws.
Wrong number: Zero points scored in the first half by Laker starters Payton and Malone, who teamed to miss all of their eight field-goal attempts.
Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 9, Bryant 8, George 3, Slava Medvedenko 2; Pistons -- Corliss Williamson 7, Billups 3, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Lindsey Hunter 2.
Leading rebounders: Lakers -- Malone 5, two with one; Pistons -- Ben Wallace and Hamilton 3, Williamson 2.
DETROIT 64 LAKERS 58
Highlight reel: Most of the Lakers struggled against the Piston defense but not O'Neal, who pretty much did anything he wanted in the paint. O'Neal scored on a variety of post moves, including a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-like sky hook and an Hakeem Olajuwon-like drop-step bank shot.
Not in the box score: How the Pistons made shots in their half-court offense even when the Lakers played solid defense. That was evident on one possession when Prince banked in a desperation jumper over George before the shot clock expired.
Winning number: 20 points scored in three quarters by Billups, who gave the Lakers fits with his penetration drives and outside shooting.
Wrong number: Zero free throws attempted in the quarter by the Lakers, who did a lot of standing around and looking at O'Neal rather than attacking the basket.
Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal and Bryant 6, Payton 3, Malone 2; Pistons -- Billups 9, Prince and Hamilton 4, Rasheed Wallace 3, Ben Wallace and Elden Campbell 2.
Leading rebounders: Lakers -- Malone 3, four with one; Pistons -- Prince 3, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace 2.
DETROIT 87 LAKERS 75
Highlight reel: Any hope the Lakers had for a comeback was shot down by the Pistons, who received clutch baskets down the stretch from Prince, Billups and Rasheed Wallace. By making the extra pass, the Pistons exploited the Lakers' slow-rotating defense to win going away.
Not in the box score: How Coach Phil Jackson jumped to his feet to call timeout after former Laker Hunter made a three-pointer to give Detroit a 71-58 lead with 9:47 to play. There was nothing but celebration on the Piston bench during the timeout.
Winning number: 30 free throws attempted in the game by the Pistons, who maintained their aggressive edge while forcing the Lakers into taking jump shots.
Wrong number: 16 points scored in the game by Lakers other than O'Neal or Bryant. With the Pistons determined not to allow role players to beat them, the Lakers struggled to get any production from Fisher, Kareem Rush and George.
Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 8, Bryant 7, Malone 2; Pistons -- Rasheed Wallace 6, Ben Wallace and Hamilton 4, Hunter and Prince 3.
Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal 5, Fisher 3; Pistons -- Rasheed Wallace 4, Hamilton 2.