The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their worst loss of the 2020-21 season to the Detroit Pistons in a back-to-back set, and barely avoided another disaster in a second meeting at Staples Center.
The Lakers were able to build a 17-point lead, but their dismal fourth quarter allowed the Pistons to rally and force two overtimes. If it were not for LeBron James’ heroics in the closing minutes of the second overtime, Detroit could have very well swept the regular season series.
James played 45 minutes and led all players with 33 points. He also added 11 assists and four steals, but did commit seven of the team’s 23 turnovers. “I don’t think there were too many frustrating parts in the game. We know we could’ve done some things better, but we played some good basketball,” James said.
“Listen, we bring out the best in the Pistons. They’ve had two really good games versus us. We have to give credit where credit is due. They played well. We got enough stops and made enough shots to win the game. Every game is going to have its own challenges, and we accept all challenges.”
Despite being shorthanded, the Pistons never folded and were able to get contributions from the bench unit. Josh Jackson sparked Detroit’s comeback as he drained 5-of-10 attempts from deep en route to 28 points. Former Laker Svi Mykhailiuk chipped in as well, adding 11 points while going 3-of-8 behind the arc.
While this will go down as a win for the Lakers, they cannot be happy with how they performed against a Pistons team at the end of road trip.
Vogel explains how Pistons got back into game
Head coach Frank Vogel has found ways to get the Lakers back to playing up to their level, but it was apparent against the Pistons that it would be a game they had to grind out themselves.
Like James, Vogel gave Detroit their due and explained how they were able to make it a competitive game. “I thought the energy was good to start the game,” Vogel said.
“I actually thought we played too fast in the first half and as a result we had a lot of turnovers that were a little uncharacteristic. The theme was to try to get back to playing with offensive pace, and we did that.
“I think we started the third quarter that way, but once we got that lead they were able to cut into it. They won a few 50-50 balls that led to 3s, we over-helped on a few situations that gave them 3s, and they were able to get back in the game.”
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