LeBron James had a team-high 33 points and also finished at a team-high +15, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook had their way in the paint and combined for 49 points and the Lakers finally had a big second half to pull away and actually win a game in regulation, taking down the Pistons 110-106. By this team’s standards, the jello was jiggling on Chick Hearn Night, as L.A. never trailed in the second half.
James notched five rebounds and nine assists to go along with his scoring output. Westbrook finished with a line of 24 points, 10 rebounds and two assists while Davis finished with 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Lakers came out rolling in the third quarter, a stark departure from what they have done in that period in most games this season. Again, the big three proved the difference, with James, Davis and Westbrook scoring or assisting on every bucket that comprised the Lakers’ 16-0 run (and the former two doing most of the scoring on that run). They finished the quarter having outscored the Pistons 32-22 even after a stepback buzzer-beater from Trey Lyles to end the quarter.
In an even more shocking twist, the run began with the Lakers’ much-maligned starting unit of James, Davis, Westbrook, Avery Bradley and DeAndre Jordan. Jordan was even able to slip a couple of screens and turn back the clock to catch some lobs from James and Davis, helping expand the Lakers’ lead into double-digit territory.
Of course, because this is still the 2021-22 Lakers, things got messy towards the end of the game, as 2021 No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham helped spark at 13-2 Detroit run that narrowed the lead to six. Fortunately, LeBron subbed in after the ensuing Lakers timeout and revived a stagnant offense. The same problems persisted for L.A. on the defensive end, though, as the team still appeared sluggish and missed plenty of rotations to give Detroit numerous open buckets.
After trying to fight the entire Lakers roster following an elbow to his face when these two teams faced off in Detroit on Sunday — resulting in ejections and suspensions for both players — Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart received some boos when he was introduced at Staples Center. But there were no shenanigans this time around, and Stewart finished a -16 in 27 minutes with five points and six rebounds.
There’s still plenty to be concerned about with this Lakers team, but it was nice to see them close an opponent out for once, even if that opponent is a rebuilding Pistons squad who the Lakers had to stage a furious comeback to beat just a week ago. L.A. is back in action on Tuesday, looking to avenge their triple-overtime Friday loss to the Kings. Tip-off in Sacramento is at 7 p.m. PT.