The Lakers are now 4-10 after defeating the Detroit Pistons, 128-121.
This game had a lot of buckets. Not just on the field but on the free throw line. It really slowed the game down. It’s what Detroit is great at; they lead the league in getting to the line coming into Friday night. It really helped the Pistons out as they led after the first, 37-30. What a strange score because the Lakers and Pistons are two of the worst scoring teams in the first.
The Lakers went with a line-up that didn’t have either Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook to start the second. The Pistons took advantage as their young guns boosted the lead to 14. Once Westbrook came back into the game, the Lakers easily went on a 7-0 run. It extended to a 20-5 run as Davis started getting the ball inside. Lonnie Walker IV then electrified the crowd with a two-handed jam that would be on Vine. I mean, if Vine still existed.
And then Lonnie ended the half with a three. L.A. led, 68-64, after two quarters. So much for defense, right?
The Pistons stayed in the game as the Lakers turned the ball over 8 times in the third. We all know how the third quarter treats Los Angeles. Detroit was uncharacteristically making shots. Both teams were actually pumping in the points and these two are in the bottom five in offensive rating (guess who’s last, though; don’t answer that).
There was a moment where Alec Burks pushed Austin Reaves into the crowd. Right after that, Reaves went on a 6-1 personal run. The Pistons then kept sending the Lakers to the line.
And then Anthony Davis took over. Davis dominated in the paint on both sides of the ball; he was blocking shots, cleaning the glass, dunking the ball, and going to the line. He scored the final 12 points for the Lakers. L.A. was able to overcome the carelessness of the rock and get their second straight win.
There were a lot of points scored but the game wasn’t all pretty; this game had 72 total free throws (40 by the Lakers). Anthony Davis had 21 foul shots himself. While this game seemed quieter than his previous one against Brooklyn, he still dictated the contest with 38 points, 16 boards, and four blocks. Walker went for 17 points while Reaves had 16 points and 6 dimes. Westbrook came off the bench with a double-double (10 points and 12 assists) while Wenyen Gabriel had a hell of a game with a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 15 total points.
The re-debuts of Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant had mixed results. But it wasn’t really too negative, either. Schröder didn’t shoot well (1 for 5, 2 points) but you can see the pace changes when he gets on the court. Thomas Bryant has always had the motor; he went for 8 points and 5 boards.
You can see the potential of those Pistons. But they’re all about developing their young guys as of now. They’re still a season or two away from realizing a little bit of this talent. We didn’t get to see Cade Cunningham. But we did witness the defensive prowess of Jalen Duren. We saw Killian Hayes’ scoring ability (he also went 4 for 6 from three; he’s not a very good three-point shooter). Jaden Ivey didn’t shoot well but you can tell he’s got a good feel for the game. It was the veterans Alec Burks (23 points) and Bojan Bogdanovic (20 points) that led the team in scoring, though. Too bad, Saddiq Bey didn’t get to finish the game due to an injured ankle.
The Lakers had a nice balance on offense with 6 players in double figs. When they weren’t giving the ball away (16 turnovers), the offense ran extremely well (29 assists and shooting .551 from the field). There was so much more movement than in previous games. The offensive side is getting better and better as time has gone on. But they still have to get back to their defense from their first two to three weeks of the season. They’re lucky that Detroit isn’t that good of an NBA team. Not that the Lakers are at the moment but the Lakers are supposed to be good. I think.
Well, at least, the Lakers didn’t blow this one. The pattern thus far has been lose 5, win two, lose 5, win two. They have the chance to break that pattern against San Antonio on Sunday. It’ll be their first of three contests against the Spurs for that week. I know it’s tempting to look ahead for L.A.
But as of now, it’s one game at a time. Start at Sunday first.