AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Wesley Johnson scored 27 points, and Jordan Farmar led a fourth-quarter rally by the Los Angeles Lakers, who overcame a 10-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-102 tonight.
Dominated around the basket for most of the night, the Lakers held on when Detroit’s Josh Smith drove into traffic and was called for an offensive foul with 2.7 seconds left and the Pistons down two. Nick Young made two free throws at the other end to put the game away.
The Pistons outscored the Lakers 76-28 in the paint, but Los Angeles went 14 of 31 from 3-point range, with Johnson connecting six times from beyond the arc. Detroit did not make a field goal from outside the paint until about midway through the third quarter.
Down 99-91, the Lakers went on a 12-0 run to take the lead late in the fourth. Farmar scored five straight points, and Shawne Williams, who also made six 3-pointers, tied it from beyond the arc.
Farmer’s shot from just inside the 3-point line on the right wing gave the Lakers a 101-99 lead, and Young extended the lead to four with a drive to the basket.
Los Angeles was ahead 104-101 when Detroit’s Brandon Jennings was fouled by Farmar while shooting a 3-pointer. But instead of tying the game, he made only one free throw with 16.7 seconds left.
Farmar missed two free throws for the Lakers, giving Detroit another chance. But the Pistons, who had scored so effortlessly for much of the night, couldn’t tie it, losing to a Los Angeles team that is still without the injured Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
Rodney Stuckey’s miss was knocked out of bounds by the Lakers with 8 seconds left. Detroit was out of timeouts, but got a free one when officials reviewed the play for a while at the monitor. The call stood, but Smith was called for an offensive foul when he ran over Young on a drive to the hoop.
Williams finished with 20 points. Farmar and Pau Gasol had 13 each.
Stuckey led the Pistons with 22 points, and Smith had eight points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. Detroit attempted 100 field goals, 20 more than the Lakers, and the Pistons had 22 offensive rebounds. Their 76 points in the paint set an NBA season high — but only eight of them came in the fourth quarter.
Andre Drummond threw down a one-handed dunk on a breakaway to give the Pistons an early 10-3 lead, but Los Angeles rallied with sharp outside shooting. The Lakers went 8 of 17 from 3-point range in the half while Detroit didn’t score once from beyond the arc.
The Pistons finished the game 1 for 7 from 3-point range.
Jennings hit a shot from near midcourt at the end of the half, but it didn’t count because he’d been called for traveling with 1.3 seconds left. The Lakers then pulled off an alley-oop to Johnson that put them ahead by a point at the half.
Johnson scored 18 points in the first half. He didn’t score in the fourth quarter, but without him, the Lakers might have been blown out.
After two quarters, the Pistons had scored all 55 of their points in the paint or at the free throw line. Detroit had outscored Los Angeles 48-14 in the paint but still trailed by a point. Greg Monroe’s shot from just beyond the free throw line — the first Detroit field goal from outside the paint — gave the Pistons a 66-64 lead in the third.
It was 60-60 when Lakers forward Jordan Hill hobbled off with what looked like a foot injury. That certainly didn’t help the Los Angeles interior defense, and the Pistons led 87-77 after three quarters after yet another Detroit layup — this one by Stuckey at the buzzer.
NOTES: There were 15 lead changes and 12 ties. ... Neither team shot well from the free throw line. The Lakers were 20 of 30, and the Pistons went 13 of 25.