A near triple-double from Lonzo Ball and Brook Lopez setting career high with nine assists were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers, who fell to the Detroit Pistons, 112-106, in the finale of their four-game road trip.
While Ball effectively orchestrated the offense throughout the game, he also scored at an efficient clip. The rookie point guard made his first six shot attempts before his first late in the third quarter.
Ball finished the night 7-for8 from the field, and of note only one of his attempts (a make) came from behind the 3-point line. He added eight rebounds and 11 assists.
While Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was playing in Detroit for the first time since signing with the Lakers, and though it was a homecoming of sorts for Kyle Kuzma, it was Julius Randle who led the team with 23 points.
Randel added 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double in the last 10 games.
He helped carry the Lakers early, when they erased a 13-6 deficit to hold a three-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma each scored eight points and combined for seven rebounds in the first 12 minutes.
The Lakers began to create some separation and led by as many as 10, but a 9-2 run by the Pistons cut their deficit to 55-53 at halftime. They similarly closed out the third quarter well, using a 7-0 to take an 81-76 lead into the fourth quarter.
Anthony Tolliver opened the fourth with a 3-pointer before the Lakers could end their scoring drought. They managed to trim the deficit and keep within striking distance but back-to-back 3-pointers pushed the Pistons’ lead to 12 points, their largest of the game, with less than three minutes remaining.
Though the Lakers managed to keep themselves in the game, any thought of a comeback in the fourth quarter were dashed by missed free throws, consecutive empty possessions, and turnovers. Additionally, Andre Drummond negated the Lakers’ intentional foul strategy by making four free throws in a row.
Playing in front of friends and family, Kuzma finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The game was Kuzma’s fourth in a row with at least 20 points and his 22nd overall this season. Caldwell-Pope had 13 points and five rebounds
Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 20 points, while Drummond and Blake Griffin each had 15 points, and Drummond added a game-high 18 rebounds.