LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jordan Hill barely played for coach Mike D'Antoni when they were together with the New York Knicks four years ago, and he started this season on D'Antoni's bench again with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hill has quickly made it impossible for D'Antoni to keep him off the court while the Lakers chase wins without Kobe Bryant.
Hill had career highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Jodie Meeks and Nick Young scored 19 points apiece in the Lakers' 114-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
Steve Blake had nine points and 16 assists for the Lakers, who made a late surge for just their second victory in six games. Los Angeles scored 16 consecutive points in a rally spanning the third and fourth quarters, holding Detroit without a field goal for more than five minutes.
Hill extended his impressive start to the season with another high-energy effort down low. Five days after moving into the starting lineup and promptly hitting his career high with 21 points against New Orleans, Hill surpassed that mark and his previous best rebounding game with relentless work against the Pistons' imposing front line.
"I get more confidence every time I step on the floor," said Hill, who washed out in New York and Houston before hitting his NBA stride with the Lakers over the past two seasons.
"We don't have Steve Nash. We don't have Kobe. We've got guys that we know have to step up. We're banding together as a team."
Los Angeles scored the final 10 points of the third quarter, taking a 79-71 lead into the fourth on consecutive 3-pointers by Young and a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper by Jordan Farmar. Strong playmaking by Blake and Farmar catalyzed the rally, which continued with the first six points of the fourth.
"It's going to take that type of effort to win games," said Pau Gasol, who had 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "We need everybody to chip in and play well."
Detroit missed six field-goal attempts and three free throws during the Lakers' rally. Los Angeles stretched its lead to 106-87 on Meeks' 3-pointer with 3:26 to play, building a lead too big to be threatened by Brandon Jennings' four consecutive 3-pointers late.
D'Antoni began the season with Shawne Williams — another former New York forward — in the lineup alongside Gasol. Hill took over the starting spot, but he also excels when the Lakers go small, using Hill in Gasol's place as their nominal center.
"He's playing as hard as he can play," D'Antoni said. "He's got talent, and he's getting better. ... I think he's just more confident and more everything — and more minutes."
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