Detroit Pistons push defending champ Los Angeles Lakers to two overtimes before falling
The pistons weren’t quite ready for the end of their trip west.
Not without another exciting game against the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
The Pistons made the final of their 10-day trip an exhilarating one, leading the defending champions two hours of overtime before suffering a 135-129 loss at the Staples Center on Saturday night. After their unlikely win at Little Caesars Arena on January 28, the Pistons had a chance of a season change over the Lakers.
Jerami Grant finished his career with 32 points and six assists, Josh Jackson with 28 points and eight rebounds and Delon Wright with 22 points and 10 assists for the Pistons (5-18).
Jackson led the furious comeback with 17 points in the third and fourth quarters and Grant took over with 12 of his points in overtime.
It still wasn’t enough.
BOX SCORE: Lakers 135, piston 129, 2OT
In the second overtime, LeBron helped James (33 points and 11 rebounds) finish the game with eight points, including a drive and a 3-pointer that finally gave the Lakers (18-6) the lead.
“I was proud of the way the guys played. There are so many learning situations for young players and our boys to play against a great team like the Lakers that we have no margin for error, ”said Dwane Casey, Pistons coach. “We try to build up the effort, the togetherness, the tenacity with which we played.
“You’re talking about two- and three-year-old boys in the league who play against the champions. We should build on that, but now our challenge is to do this consistently, and we haven’t yet found this formula so we can do it every night. “
The Pistons were understaffed and played with no Derrick Rose sitting out on “personal reasons” amid swirling reports that the Pistons are trying to trade him. They were also without Blake Griffin, who was resting back to back on the second game of a, and Wayne Ellington and Jahlil Okafor, who nursed injuries.
Even so, the Pistons prevailed against the defending champions, who hold one of the best records in the league.
The Lakers were leading 80-63 towards the end of the third quarter, and the Pistons appeared to be on their way to a second double-digit loss after falling in the sun on Friday night. The Pistons fought back with a 3-pointer Wright and two consecutive 3-pointers Jackson to come within 82-72 at 2:26 of the third. After a three-point game, the deficit was in the single digits.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter the pistons continued to break off and after a 3-pointer from Jackson and an insertion from rookie Saben Lee the pistons were within four. The Lakers failed to score in the final 4:06 minutes of regulation and the Pistons finished the race with six straight points capped by Jackson’s spinning drive to the basket 3.1 seconds ahead to tie him at 106.
In the first overtime, Mason Plumlee (15 points, eight rebounds and six assists) scored a putback and Jackson made a turnaround for the Pistons’ first lead since the first half. Alex Caruso converted a three point game and after Plumlee responded with a three point game, Caruso hit a three point. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dunked a transition to retake the lead, 114-113, for the Lakers at 1:42.
Grant responded with a three point game and James hit on a drive to knot the score at 116. After two free throws from Grant, Anthony Davis (30 points) tied him again with an 18.1 second lead before going on the second overtime.
Grant kept the momentum going, with a reverse gear and one more run in the first 2:22 of the second extension, covering his series of nine straight piston points spanning the two overtime periods. The Pistons led, 122-121 at 2:38, before James took the game late.