Lakers escape Pistons and end road trip at 3-3

Lakers snap their three-game losing streak with a much-needed victory.

The Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons with a closer-than-we-expected 124-117 win.

This is no disrespect whatsoever to the Detroit Pistons. I thought the Lakers would run away early and win comfortably. The Pistons are young and clearly in rebuilding mode. Everyone expected them to be at or near the bottom and came into this game with a 7-21 slate.

And it looked great early. Lakers jumped to an 18-5 lead before the Pistons settled in and started making shots. For a while, they were trading baskets but the Lakers pulled away a bit, punctuated by an Austin Reaves three at the end of the half. More on Austin later.

The third quarter is where two players basically had a duel. The Lakers seemed to make a concerted effort on getting Anthony Davis the ball. Davis scored 17 points in that period. But it was Bojan Bogdanovic who absolutely kept pushing down, down-forward, forward, fierce in the third (yes, that is a Street Fighter fireball reference). He put in 25 points in the third quarter and he singlehandedly brought the Pistons back in the game. The Lakers led by a precarious single point going into the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Pistons, they never seemed to get over the hump. Every basket was seemingly countered by LeBron James, who scored 13 points in the important fourth quarter. Still, Detroit had one last run in them and scored 6 straight points to get within 119-117 with under 30 seconds left.

The Lakers did not have a good possession. But the basketball gods smiled at the Lakers and Austin Reaves that moment:

That put the game away. The Lakers survived with the 7-point W. And again, I didn’t expect the contest to be that competitive. I suppose it was also pretty competitive in their first go-round, too, but I felt these two teams were going in different directions despite what’s happened in the last week or so.

The Lakers led the entire way except for Detroit going ahead with a… 1-0 advantage. The game was really close in nearly all major categories. The Pistons did make 17 threes but they were only 2 for 10 behind the arc in the fourth.

LeBron James finished with 35 points while Anthony Davis had 34-15-7 performance. It’s his 8th 30-10 game in the last month. Also, Davis reached 15,000 career points (coincidentally, Giannis Antetokounmpo also reached 15,000 later on Sunday). Lonnie Walker IV came through as a tertiary option, scoring 18 points.

As for Detroit, Bojan Bogdanovic led all scorers with 38 (25 in the third quarter). Jalen Duren stood out in his rebounding with 13 boards (he only shot once and he made it). Jaden Ivey didn’t particularly shoot well but he ended with 16 points.

The Lakers prevented themselves from sinking deeper into the abyss and are now sporting an 11-15 record. On Tuesday, they are back in the comfort of their home arena and they resume a rivalry that has been going on since the dawn of man. It’s the Lakers against the Celtics for the 297th time in the regular season. The Celtics also have the best record in the league at 21-6 so this game will be intense. And it would be sweet for the Lakers and their fans if they can score the win here.

But for now, Lakers can’t wait to go home.

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