The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their three-game losing streak by narrowly edging out the Detroit Pistons, 121-116, for a comeback victory.
Defense in the painted area was scarce to begin the game as both teams found little resistance scoring inside, with the Lakers taking the early advantage. Los Angeles was able to find Anthony Davis underneath the rim for easy scores, while Talen Horton-Tucker cut along the baseline for his first layup of the evening.
Even with Davis beating the Pistons down the floor, Detroit managed to cut the deficit in half after Saddiq Bey hit a step-back three. The two teams traded 3-pointers in the final minute, which allowed the Lakers to take a 30-26 lead after one.
Although Dwight Howard was able to find himself open around the rim, Detroit took a four-point lead as their bench simply outworked and outhustled Los Angeles. Howard surprisingly hit a corner three, and Carmelo Anthony converted on a four-point play to give the Lakers a two-point lead.
Russell Westbrook and Davis found it difficult finishing at the basket, but Horton-Tucker was able to convert on his own attempt to keep the Pistons briefly at bay. However, Jerami Grant caught fire from beyond the arc in the final minutes and Los Angeles somehow found themselves trailing 68-61 at the half.
LeBron James tried to jumpstart the Lakers with a top-of-the-arc three, but Jerami Grant picked up where he left off and pushed the Pistons lead to 12. Things got out of hand as Isaiah Stewart took exception from an inadvertent elbow from James which led to the young big man charging the star and the Laker bench. The incident produced massive ramifications as James was charged with a flagrant two foul and Stewart were ejected from the game while Westbrook was called for a technical foul.
With James no longer available, the Lakers struggled to muster up any momentum on either side of the floor while the Pistons continued to hammer away. The lack of urgency or effort was alarming, and the team would head into the fourth staring at a 99-84 hole.
The team finally showed some signs of life as another Anthony three cut the deficit to eight and forced the Pistons to call a timeout. Westbrook was the spark the Lakers needed to get them going and he punctuated the run with a vicious slam and three to bring them within one.
L.A. did a much better job of battling by giving second and even third efforts on the boards and Westbrook found Davis streaking down to give them a 113-111 lead. Davis came up huge on both ends in the final minute, blocking Cade Cunningham twice and scoring on the other end to give the Purple and Gold the narrow victory.
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