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Lakers vs. Pistons Final Score: Lack of interior defense dooms Lakers in 121-102 loss

Points. In. The. Paint.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were without an engine despite playing in Motor City in a 121-102 blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons. They managed to hang around through the first half, but fell apart through the second half as Detroit piled on a 20--plus point lead and cruised to a victory.

The culprit in this one is as simple as can be: points in the paint. The Pistons piled on 70 points in the paint, seemingly getting whatever they wanted against a lackluster Lakers defense. Pick-and-roll? Easy points. Lob? Easier points. Isolation? Got ‘em. It didn’t matter how the Pistons attacked the paint, they were going to score over the NBA’s worst defense time and time again.

Andre Drummond was the beneficiary in this, scoring a game-high 24 points on 12-of-19 shooting. He was also a beast on the boards, grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds. If the Pistons had converted on more of their second-chance points — Drummond had five on his own — this would have been an even wider margin. The Pistons and Lakers each had 11 second-chance points, though Detroit (14) doubled LA’s (7) offensive rebound total.

D’Angelo Russell once again found his minutes matched up with his impact — minimal. He scored just two points, attempted two field goals and turned the ball over three times. He slung five assists, but they were empty stats in a game where the Lakers looked severely outclassed. It was 22 minutes and out for D’Angelo, who once again rode the bench through the fourth quarter.

Brandon Ingram had a steady night in his new starting-lineup role, dishing out five assists to go with his 15 points. Julius Randle and Lou Williams tied for team-highs with 17 points a piece. Aside from protecting the rim, the Lakers also failed to take care of the ball. They turned it over 21 times to the Pistons’ 14, and you could hear the light switch being flipped to off mid-way through the third quarter.

The Lakers will take a much-needed day off before visiting the Milwaukee Bucks Friday afternoon.

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