The Detroit Pistons were on the last stop of their west coast trip and faced a Los Angeles Lakers team suiting up both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In the first meeting more than a week ago, Detroit bested a Lakers’ team without Davis. In this one, Detroit nearly took down the Lakers again, falling short in two overtimes 135-129.
After a strong first quarter which saw Detroit ahead by two, Detroit melted in the second — losing it by 11 — and could have easily folded after halftime. It took Detroit some time in the third to find themselves, but they sure did.
The Lakers led by as many as 17 in the third quarter. Detroit, paced by Josh Jackson’s 25 second half points, didn’t fade, and chipped away bit by bit and trailed by a deuce with 1:01 left in the game. Coach Casey drew up a play for a Jerami Grant corner triple but it rimmed out. Detroit had another chance after a missed LeBron jump shot — as Josh Jackson drove the lane and hit a tough bucket off the glass to tie the game at 106.
LeBron didn’t convert a heavily contested drive to the bucket as time expired. Detroit won the quarter 28-18.
Free basketball on a Sunday morning in EST!
After a hectic five minutes of overtime in which neither team ran away, with no time left Jerami Grant left a baseline runner short over LeBron. Good move and good defense, shot was just a bit short.
118-118. More free hoops.
The second overtime was LeBron’s time. He was often matched up with Mason Plumlee and he was too much for the foul-riddled big man. Detroit couldn’t match the Lakers’ superstar as the Lakers stretched it out to seven with too little time left.
LeBron led the Lakers with 33 points. Anthony Davis scored 30 on 22 shots — Detroit’s defense made him work for his shots.
Detroit will be kicking themselves, as they turned it over 20 times.
Let’s go to the individual bullets:
Delon scored a fairly quiet 22 points in this one. He was 8-for-10 from the field and assisted on 10 shots with only three turnovers in 45 minutes. He was nearly flawless in his directing of the team. When he gets into the teeth of the defense, positive things usually happen. Delon was quiet in the overtime periods, often deferring to Grant.
Bey was not shy in his 17 first half minutes, putting up seven shots but only connecting on one. Most of them were in-rhythm looks and we all want and need Bey to look for his shot. Bey was decent on the defensive end to help make up for his poor shooting.
Jerami hit a number of extremely difficult buckets and made good defensive plays all night. Jerami can get by any defender and score over, under, around, or through anyone. 11-for-27 from the field doesn’t look great, though come crunch time he made his fair share of winning plays to keep the Pistons in it.
Sekou got the start and battled his best defensively and on the glass against the bruising brutes on LA. Sekou wasn’t successful very often, but he wasn’t dreadful either. Offensively, he was forced to be mostly a 3-point shooter. Coming into the game he was at 29-percent from three, and was 0-for-5 in this one. Sekou made at least one solid drive to the cup, though his finishing is just too consistently off as we are accustomed to seeing — it’s surely a strength and experience issue. Again, he is just 20.
When Mason wasn’t turning the ball over trying to make a back door pass or not offering much rim protection, he was making impressive passes to the perimeter, getting key steals on Davis, grabbing big rebounds and 50-50 balls, and even making decisive moves in the post. This wasn’t his best game as a Piston but he was instrumental in the comeback. 47 minutes for the veteran.
Svi made three 3-pointers in the first half on three tries (4-of-4 from the field overall in first half). He was really flying around screens and made a couple tough ones. Svi didn’t connect from then on, yet played big minutes and made key plays on both ends to stay on the floor.
The refs were not too kind to Stew in the opening half, and Stew apparently thought so as well, picking up a technical foul. Isaiah never really got into this one with five fouls in 11 minutes.
Josh struggled with making smart plays and scoring the basketball early on, however towards the end of the third quarter he drilled back-to-back threes to knock Detroit’s deficit from 16 to 10 — Jerami found Josh in the first trey on a secondary fast break and Plumlee in the paint swung a dart to Josh in the corner for the second.
Josh was just getting started. He would go on to score 25 in the second half, scoring on anybody and everybody. He used his athleticism, decisiveness, and quick trigger to wreak havoc on the Lakers’ defense. Josh finished with five 3-pointers.
Saben saw his first appearance to open the fourth quarter and gave them energy and speed in six minutes.
Rodney has had a couple decent seasons in the NBA. However, for this team at this point in time, he doesn’t add anything on the court for them. He played a largely forgettable seven minutes in the first half.