The Lakers entered Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons looking to bounce back after a particularly horrid stretch that featured losses to the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics that weren’t very close. It was about as ugly as it could have been, but Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis led a late comeback after LeBron James was ejected in the third quarter and the Lakers did just enough to right the ship a tiny bit, beating the Pistons 121-116.
Westbrook helped spark a 19-5 run to begin the final quarter in James’ absence, scoring or assisting on most of those points with some help from Carmelo Anthony’s shooting and Talen Horton-Tucker’s finishing at the rim. After the Pistons got a quick five-point spurt on a three-pointer and two made free throws from Jackson to put themselves back up by four, Westbrook and Davis eventually clawed the Lakers to a 113-111 lead thanks to some of the best two-man play they've shown this season. After Talen Horton-Tucker had a finger roll, Russ found AD again under the hoop to put the Lakers up by five.
But the Pistons almost came back when Jerami Grant made a layup, Jackson blocked Horton-Tucker’s layup attempt at the other end and Detroit got the ball back. But Grant made a horrendous pass off the inbound that Davis stole, clinching the game for the Lakers.
On a night where they needed both remaining superstars down the stretch, the Lakers got stellar performances from Westbrook, who finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 26 points, 10 assists and nine boards, and Davis, who finished with a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Anthony Davis finishes with 30 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 22, 2021
Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only players ever to achieve that stat line before tonight.
That's it. That's the list.
LeBron James was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected after hitting Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart with a nasty and unnecessary elbow move on a box-out in the third quarter. The game stopped for nearly 15 minutes, however, thanks to what happened next.
Almost 16 years to the day since the original “Malice at the Palace,” Stewart tried everything he could to spark a sequel. After James’ elbow gave Stewart a bloody eye, Stewart resisted multiple attempts from the Lakers, Pistons, security guards and even the Pistons public address announcer to de-escalate the fracas. Stewart attempted multiple times to fight through several teammates and coaches to reach James and even tried to run through the tunnel at Little Caesar’s Arena to ostensibly reemerge at the other end of the court and make another charge at James.
After the referees finally sorted through the mess, James was given his Flagrant 2 foul and ejection — just the second one of his career — for the elbow and Stewart was ejected for his actions afterward. Russell Westbrook was also assessed a technical for charging into the scrum and having to be held back by his teammates.
James finished with 10 points, one rebound and five assists in 21 minutes of action. He and his teammates continued to play absolutely abysmal defense, allowing a Pistons team with an offensive rating just over 102 coming into this game to score 116.
Still, a win is a win, and the Lakers needed one in the worst way. Next up is their annual trip to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m. PT.