The Los Angeles Lakers appeared poised for a comfortable game, but again found themselves in a battle before hanging on for a 135-129 win in double overtime against a Detroit Pistons team that was without Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. It avenged a defeat at the hands of the Pistons while on the road trip.
Anthony Davis was aggressive out of the gate, scoring eight of the Lakers’ first 14 points with all of them coming next to the rim. However, turnovers were an issue as they committed four in the first six minutes, which helped the Pistons pull even at 14.
While Davis remained determined to score inside, Jerami Grant was able to answer on the other end and keep the game tied. Although Talen Horton-Tucker picked up a pair of steals, overall sloppy offensive execution led to Los Angeles trailing 29-27 after one.
Horton-Tucker helped the Lakers retake the lead as he made plays on both ends, putting them up 37-36 after finding Kyle Kuzma in transition. The bench as a whole turned the game around with their energy on defense, allowing L.A. to get out on the break and gather some momentum.
Despite a solid showing from Kuzma, the Pistons momentarily closed the gap before the starters settled back down and pushed the lead up to 12. Dennis Schroder was able to dart to the paint for multiple layups in the final minute, and Los Angeles walked into halftime leading 63-54.
Marc Gasol and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finally scratched from the field as they got free for jumpers, keeping the Lakers ahead by double digits. LeBron James asserted himself going to the basket, getting a nice feed from Gasol and earning a trip to the line.
Gasol’s defense allowed the Lakers to increase their lead to 17, but the Pistons started to find their rhythm from beyond the arc and get within single digits. However, Horton-Tucker was able to get loose for a lay in and dunk and went into the fourth up 88-78.
Josh Jackson caught fire from distance, nailing a pair of threes that allowed Detroit to get within four. A James dunk on the break momentarily gave the Lakers some breathing room, but another Jackson three made it a one-possession game.
After the timeout the Lakers received back-to-back baskets from Davis and Schroder, which helped fend off the Pistons’ comeback attempt for the time being. Detroit did again cut it to a single possession and eventually tied it with 3.1 seconds remaining.
James missed a driving layup, sending the game into overtime. Alex Caruso provided a spark but the teams continued to trade baskets, with the Lakers often on the response and trailing. That trend continued and resulted in a second overtime.
A James layup and setpback 3-pointer wound up giving the Lakers a cushion that ultimately held.
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