LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers fell to their fourth consecutive loss falling against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday 102-97.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the game until the late in the fourth quarter with the Pistons pulling away in the final minutes. Here a few takeaways from the loss:
Pistons Balanced Attack
Detroit had hit a rough patch on their three-game losing streak heading into the final night of their five-game road trip.
However, the Pistons found some offensive balance with four of their five starting finishing in double figures with at least 15 points. Andre Drummond recorded a double-double with 15 points and game-high 17 rebounds.
Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris both led Detroit with 23 points a piece meanwhile Reggie Jackson chipped in with 16 points. These four players had combined for 33 of the Pistons’ 43 points scored in the second half, including 21 of the 27 points in the fourth quarter.
It was a stark contrast in comparison to how the Pistons began the game making just two of their first 14 shots while trailing 18-4. Head coach Luke Walton believes the lack of intensity throughout the game led their double-digit lead slipping away but at the same time holds strong hope that there will be some significant improvement in this area that will come within time.
“We all know we got a young team here,” Walton said. “Down the stretch, we are playing teenagers, and this is a grown man’s league. Are we good enough to win? Absolutely we are but it takes making makes. There is no formula that tells you this exactly what happens. I’m very confident that as a group we are going to get it.”
It was something that Jordan Clarkson reiterated following Sunday’s loss.
“It has been the same story for us in the last few games,” said Clarkson, who finished with 16 points. “We build up a lead and let it go away. We just got to keep that same intensity that we started with.”
Russell’s offensive punch
In the last three games, D’Angelo Russell had hit a small offensive skid failing to notch double figures in any of the contest.
The second-year guard snapped out of that trend against the Pistons scoring 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting with seven rebounds, and three assists in the loss. It marked his eighth 20-point effort this season.
This included a strong first half with a team-high 14 point while going seven of 11 from the field. He scored in a variety of ways from mid-range, off-the-dribble and on drives to the basket. Russell’s aggressiveness in the first two quarters was something that Walton was most encouraged by from his point guard.
“He was good. He was getting to the rim and he was causing all sorts of havoc on their defense,” Walton said. “I thought he was aggressive. He was out there playing hard on both ends.”
Following the game, the 20-year-old took a different approach on his aggressiveness on the offensive end of the floor pointing to it being a product of the team’s offensive flow on any given night.
“I feel like we can’t worry about it,” Russell said. “If it’s anybody’s night we can’t worry about it. If they’re rolling just keep doing your job, that’s for anybody. If Nick is going then I’m not worried, if I’m going then nobody else should be worried.”
Through the first half of the season, Lou Williams has been the Lakers’ most consistent offensive firepower off the bench.
The veteran guard continued that trend on Sunday night scoring a team-high 26 points, which marked his 15th 20-point outing and the 20th time that he has led Los Angeles in scoring this year. It was also the 42nd time in 45 games played that he has hit double figures.
Williams was once again huge in the second half for the Lakers scoring 14 points with 11 coming in the final period that helped keep his team in the game. He has often times been their reliable scoring punch in the fourth quarter.
With Williams continuing to provide an offensive spark on a nightly basis, the Lakers can at least find solace in his production off the bench.
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Bob Garcia IV
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