The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday evening, looking to win their second consecutive road game as they defeated the New York Knicks Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Wednesday night’s game marked the Lakers last time playing at The Palace of Auburn Hills, and the illustrious arena will be closed down after this season.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton decided to stick with the same starting five from Monday night, as Julius Randle was joined by Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black on the front court, while D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young were in their normal starting backcourt positions.
With the shorter Black guarding him, Pistons center Andre Drummond immediately went to work, making a layup on the Pistons first possession of the game. The Lakers responded with 10 of the next 12 points though, as Randle hit a running hook shot and then Ingram scored eight points of 3-of-3 shooting, two of those being threes, and the Lakers led 10-4 early.
Out of a timeout the Pistons answered with four straight points of their own to cut the deficit to 10-8.
The Lakers offense was tough to stop early, as midway through the first quarter they were 8-for-10 from the field, and led 18-13.
Five early turnovers kept the Lakers from building that lead though, but after Russell found Luol Deng for a wide open three, the lead expanded to 21-15. Tobias Harris responded with a quick three to cut the deficit back to three though.
Ish Smith scored the Pistons final four points of the first quarter to help his team regain the lead at 25-24, but just before time expired in the quarter Ivica Zubac was fouled on a layup attempt. He made one of two free throws to tie the game at 25 after one quarter.
The team’s exchanges some baskets to begin the second quarter, but back-to-back jumpers by Aron Baynes gave the Pistons their largest lead of the game at five.
That lead got as high as nine before Brandon Ingram broke the spurt with a dunk. That gave Ingram 10 points in the game on 4-of-4 shooting. Russell drilled a mid-range jumper on the next possession, which was just his first shooting attempt of the game.
Detroit found a groove offensively late in the second quarter, scoring on six straight possessions to increase their lead to double digits at 10 after a layup by Drummond.
A putback dunk by Nance to beat the buzzer at the end of the second quarter cut the halftime deficit to six at 56-50.
Harris led all scorers with 11 points, while Drummond secured a first half double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Ingram and Young led the Lakers with 10 and nine points, respectively.
The Lakers began the second half with their 13th turnover of the game, which Detroit turned into an easy dunk.
The Pistons lead got back up to 10 as Drummond converted on a jump hook and then Black committed the Lakers 14th turnover, leading to a dunk at the other end of the floor by Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, causing Walton to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Black missed a dunk attempt and Marcus Morris drilled a transition three to get the Pistons lead up to a game-high 13. Randle scored just seconds later though to bring it back to 11.
Drummond went to work on the rookie Zubac, scoring four straight points on the young center. Then a transition dunk by Jon Leuer after another Lakers turnover expanded the lead to 16 with four minutes remaining in the third.
A three by Harris got the lead up to 20, as the Lakers continued to struggle at both ends of the floor.
Needing to make a run to close out the third quarter, Jordan Clarkson scored five straight points for his team. But that was not enough as Detroit shot 15-of-21 in the quarter, and took a 22 point lead into the fourth and final period.
Detroit put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of the quarter’s first 14 points to expand their lead to 28, ending all threats of a Lakers comeback attempt.
With three minutes left the Lakers got within 18, but that’s as close as it would get as the Pistons went on to win 121-102.
Drummond had a very solid performance by Detroit, scoring 24 points on 12-of-19 shooting to go along with 17 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Ingram was one of the only positives for Los Angeles, as he had 15 points, four rebounds and five assists to 6-of-10 shooting.
The Lakers will finish their road trip Friday when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 5 p.m. Pacific tine.