LeBron James to the rescue: Lakers earn double OT victory over Pistons

L.A. avenges road loss at Detroit with win at Staples Center
Author:
Publish date:

LOS ANGELES -- Another home game in February, another big game for LeBron James.

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the bottom feeders of the Eastern Conference in the undermanned Detroit Pistons, it wasn't easy. 

The Lakers trailed early but took a 37-36 lead on a Kyle Kuzma drive with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter and appeared to be on cruise control -- or so it seemed.

However, Detroit swing man Josh Jackson heated up, shooting 5-for-10 from beyond the arc and tying the game at 106-all with 3.1 seconds left on a drive to the basket.

James missed a left-handed drive as the buzzer sounded, and the Lakers were headed to overtime for the first time this season.

Alex Caruso scored five points in the first overtime to keep the Lakers close; Detroit's Jerami Grant missed a fadeaway that would have won it for the Pistons, sending the game into a second overtime tied  at 118-apiece

That's when James took over, scoring eight of his game-high 33 points in the second overtime -- including two, 3-pointers -- leading the Lakers to a 135-129 victory.

James added 11 assists and five rebounds.

L.A. improved to 18-6 with the win, while the Pistons dropped to 5-18.

Detroit played without Wayne Ellington (right calf strain), Blake Griffin (rest) and Derrick Rose -- reportedly held out because the Pistons are attempting to trade him.

The Pistons also played in the second of a back-to-back game; Detroit lost 109-92 in Phoenix on Friday.

Anthony Davis did not play against the Pistons earlier on the road trip due to a right quad contusion when they defeated the Lakers in Detroit on L.A.’s seven-game road trip.

Davis helped the Lakers get a little bit of revenge, finishing with 30 points. 

Top player: Point guard Dennis Schröder remained aggressive offensively had another good game, finishing with 22 points and eight assists.

What I liked: The Lakers once again had a handful of contributors offensively, with six players scoring in double figures. Los Angeles finished with a 72-54 advantage in paint points and an 23-6 edge in fast break points. The Lakers shot 56 percent from the field.

What I did not like: L.A. finished with 22 turnovers. The Pistons outscored the Lakers’ bench 49-41. Los Angeles allowed the Pistons to hang around late, with Detroit shooting 16-of-42 (38 percent) from beyond the arc. For some odd reason Detroit head coach Dwane Casey decided to put Mason Plumlee on James a the end of the game.

Injuries: Alex Caruso banged his right hand on the rim trying to block a dunk by Grant in the third quarter but stayed in the game. Jared Dudley remained out with right calf soreness.

They said it: “We’re not asking him to be a scorer in our offense. We’re asking him to be a facilitator.” – Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel when asked about Marc Gasol’s role in the offense. Entering Saturday’s game against the Pistons, Gasol was averaging just 3.7 points per game, well below his career average of 14.7 points a contest. However, the Lakers are relying on Gasol to get other players involved.