AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Kobe Bryant calmly dribbled to his right and made a 19-foot fadeaway at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
It would have been easy for the Detroit Pistons to fold — but the mood at The Palace is finally beginning to feel different.
"Kobe, he's a phenomenal player. He's going to hit those," Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey said. "We didn't hang our heads. We pretty much just dug down deep in overtime."
Stuckey scored six of his 34 points in overtime, and the Pistons recovered from Bryant's tying shot to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 88-85 on Tuesday night.
Bryant and Metta World Peace both had chances to tie it late in overtime but couldn't connect from beyond the arc.
"Everyone played a little tired," Bryant said.
In front of only their third home sellout of the season — with Gladys Knight performing at halftime — the Pistons won despite scoring only nine points in the third quarter. Detroit started 4-20 under new coach Lawrence Frank, but the Pistons have gone 9-6 since.
"When you just have a short amount of time with this lockout and stuff like that — new team, new coach — everything's brand new," Stuckey said. "It's going to take time. It's all a process."
Down 74-71 in the fourth, Stuckey shook free of Bryant with a nifty crossover dribble, stepping back to make a shot from near the free throw line. He then put the Pistons ahead with a driving layup.
World Peace stole the ball near midcourt and went the other way for a layup to put the Lakers ahead 76-75, but Stuckey's 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left gave the Pistons a two-point lead.
Bryant's shot over Tayshaun Prince forced the extra session, and neither team led by more than three in overtime.
The Pistons won by forcing the Lakers to take bad shots from the perimeter late. With Detroit up 86-85, World Peace forced a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down. After that miss, Stuckey drove hard to the basket and drew a foul, sinking both free throws with 36.8 seconds remaining.
Bryant missed a quick 3-pointer from the top, but the shot clock was still on for the Pistons, who had to settle for a perimeter shot by Jason Maxiell that missed badly. The Lakers rebounded and called a timeout.