LOS ANGELES - Larry Brown was tired of rationalizing a miracle or, for him, bad luck.
"Give them their due," Brown said of the Los Angeles Lakers, who beat his Detroit Pistons in overtime, 99-91, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals after an improbable comeback.
Now, it was time to be sarcastic.
"Are you allowed to give people their due in this thing?" Brown said. "Are you allowed to tell a team that they won a game?"
So the healing began. Kobe Bryant saved the Lakers' season with a game-tying three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left Tuesday night. Now, the Pistons, who were so close to a 2-0 lead, must stop the Lakers' momentum.
The series moves to Auburn Hills, Mich., tonight for Game 3, the first of three straight games at the Palace. While the Lakers are concerned about Karl Malone's injured knee, the Pistons have to wonder about their psyche.
"How do you think we're going to respond?" Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace said. "Do you think we're just going to lay down?"
The Pistons had plenty of smart-aleck responses, but they offered no real answers. It could just be their self-confidence and edge showing, however.
Game 3 might turn out to be the most important of this series. If the Pistons win, the significance of Bryant's shot decreases, and Detroit becomes steady again. If the Lakers win, the series could be all but over.
"Obviously, it's devastating for a situation like this to happen," Detroit's Tayshaun Prince said.
The Lakers have some problems. The biggest is Malone's health. Malone re-injured his right knee Tuesday night.
Off the court
Bryant: Kobe Bryant's defense team in Colorado said it wants the judge to tell the NBA star's jury that investigators did not collect certain evidence, including bathroom towels and the contents of trash cans that could have suggested he is innocent of rape.
In a court filing, defense attorney Hal Haddon also criticized prosecutors for an "ongoing pattern and practice of failing to look for - and obstructing the defense's access to - exculpatory evidence in this case."
Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined comment.
Ratings: The ratings for Los Angeles' Game 2 win were more than double the figures for the second game of last year's championship series.
NBC's broadcast got a 10.6 rating with a 19 share, 106 percent higher than last year's Game 2 between New Jersey and San Antonio (5.2 with a 10).
It was the highest-rated prime-time network program of the night.
The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use. Share is the percentage of homes with TVs in use. Each rating point represents about 1.08 million households.
The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Wire services contributed to this article.
(Best of seven; *-if necessary)
L.A. Lakers vs. Detroit
(Series tied 1-1)
Game 1-Detroit 87, L.A. Lakers 75
Game 2-L.A. Lakers 99, Detroit 91, OT
Today-at Detroit, 9 p.m.
Sunday-at Detroit, 9 p.m.
Tuesday-at Detroit, 9 p.m.
*Next Thursday-at L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m.
*June 20-at L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m.