Struggling Pistons hand Lakers first back-to-back loss of the season
Los Angeles (AFP) –
Wayne Ellington continued his hot hand, scoring 20 points as the Detroit Pistons rebounded from their worst loss of the season with a 107-92 upset of the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Centre Mason Plumlee finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Blake Griffin tallied 23 points and Derrick Rose came off the bench to score 14 points as the last place Pistons improved to 5-4 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
"I thought we were really good," Griffin said. "I was proud of the way everybody played."
The Pistons overcame a 20-point first half by LeBron James, then seized control down the stretch with a 19-3 scoring run.
Detroit cleaned up their defensive game Thursday after making 22 turnovers in a one-sided 122-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
The Lakers lost back-to-back games for the first time as they were held to under 100 points after being forced to play without forward Anthony Davis, who was out with a bruised right quadricep.
This loss comes just 24 hours after the Lakers suffered their first road loss, a nail-biting 107-106 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers. Los Angeles has now lost two straight after winning their first 10 games on the road to start the season.
Kyle Kuzma and James each scored 22 points for the Lakers, who are now 3-2 in their seven-game road trip. James insisted he doesn't get tired on these long road trips but he hinted at some frustration with his teammates on Thursday.
"Every team has long road trips," said James, who had just two points after halftime. "We got to keep our minds fresh and our bodies fresh. Obviously, we haven't done it in the last couple of games."
But without Davis, the Lakers looked out of sorts, especially in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 25-14.
"None of us are happy with how we played tonight," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "We have been pretty good on the road but tonight we couldn't find it."
James made his first seven shots but said he stopped shooting because he wanted to see more offence from the other Laker scorers.
"Early on I got it going. I still got to get my teammates the ball. We didn't have many assists so I tried to get the other guys involved in the game," James said.
Griffin shot eight of 16 from the floor and dished out six assists after missing one game with an injury.
The Pistons led by eight points late in the first quarter, but James made a driving layup with one minute remaining to cut the Detroit lead to 34-31.
The Pistons drained two late threes near the end of the second quarter, but guard Dennis Schroder sank a free throw with 28 seconds left to give the Lakers a 58-56 halftime lead.
Ellington drained six-of-nine from beyond the arc against his former team. He nailed a three-pointer in the final two minutes to give the Pistons one of their biggest leads of the game, 107-91. Ellington now has made at least four threes in each of his last seven games.
The teams will meet again in Los Angeles on February 6.
Elsewhere, Nicolas Batum scored 18 points, helping the Los Angeles Clippers rally to a 109-105 win over the Miami Heat. Miami lost its fifth straight game, the longest losing streak in the league.
© 2021 AFP