Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Detroit fell behind 80-63 with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter but crushed L.A. for the rest of regulation, outscoring the Lakers 28-18 in the fourth quarter alone. Pistons forward Josh Jackson’s layup with 3.1 seconds left forced overtime.
The first OT saw the Pistons take a 118-116 lead off a pair of Jerami Grant free throws with 26.1 seconds left, but Lakers big man Anthony Davis dunked eight seconds later for the tie. Grant missed a potential game-winning floater, and the teams moved on to double overtime.
LeBron James took over in that session, scoring eight points. He hit a pair of step-back threes that helped salt the game away down the stretch.
The 18-6 Lakers have won four straight, and the 5-18 Pistons have dropped four in a row.
Pistons PF Jerami Grant: 32 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds
Pistons C Mason Plumlee: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
Pistons PG Delon Wright: 22 points, 10 assists
Pistons F Josh Jackson: 28 points, 8 rebounds
Lakers G/F LeBron James: 33 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals
Lakers PF/C Anthony Davis: 30 points, 5 rebounds
Lakers PG Dennis Schroder: 22 points, 8 assists
James, Davis Hold Off Valiant Pistons’ Effort
L.A. entered Saturday with the league’s second-best record at 17-6, ready to face the team at the bottom of the NBA standings in the 5-17 Pistons. The Lakers also entered this matchup ranked first in fewest points per game allowed and No. 1 in defensive rating, per Basketball Reference.
The Lakers shot 56.0 percent from the field Saturday. James and Davis combined for 63 points on 26-of-48 shooting. L.A. hit 47.4 percent of its three-pointers, and four others players outside the James-Davis duo scored in double digits, led by Dennis Schroder’s 22.
If you were told all of these facts without the result of the game being revealed, it’d probably be safe to assume the Lakers dominated by double digits.
However, that didn’t happen as the Pistons offense sprung to life.
The Lakers had no answer for Jackson, who hit five of 10 three-pointers and had 13 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Grant started the game with five straight misses but ended up with 32 points on a respectable 11-of-27 clip.
Delon Wright scored 22 points on just 10 shots in addition to his 10 assists, and he was undoubtedly the most efficient player on the Staples Center floor, save for Mason Plumlee, whose 15 points came on 6-of-7 shooting.
It wasn’t a banner night for the Lakers defense against a Pistons offense that entered Saturday rated 26th, but Detroit deserves credit for taking the defending champs to the limit.
However, James and Davis proved too strong down the stretch, with James knocking down his threes and Davis doing work in the paint.
Their star power proved to be the difference, but the Lakers needed to hang on for dear life before James and Davis got the chance to save the day.