August 2, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Without Anthony Davis, Lakers go cold late in loss to Pistons

There are nights in the NBA season when all eyes will be on the Lakers, when they need to try and stop Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid in possible NBA Finals previews. There are nights when a historic rivalry with the Celtics will fuel a team.

And then there are nights like Thursday, when the NBA schedule finds you on the floor of a four-win team in a 20-degree town at the end of January, the playoffs an eternity away and the energy from the newness of the season already worn off.

What do you need to do to win on those nights?

Well, you’ve got to play better than this.

The Lakers’ couldn’t capitalize on LeBron James’ hot start, and as the rims tightened, the Lakers’ spirit faded. One night after they almost came back in Philadelphia, they happily went away in Detroit, losing to the Pistons 107-92.

It’s the first time this season the Lakers have lost consecutive games.

James hit his first seven shots, scoring 20 points in the game’s first 20 minutes before he went ice cold. James scored just two more points on 1-for-12 shooting the rest of the game.

With few exceptions, no one was much better on a night when they needed their depth to show up. Anthony Davis didn’t play because of swelling related to a contusion on his right quad muscle.

The Lakers managed only 14 points in the fourth quarter, missing more than 70 percent of their shots while the Pistons steadily put the game away. They weren’t much better in the third, though, when they scored just 20 points.

Kyle Kuzma, starting for the injured Davis, scored 22 points and Dennis Schroder added 10, but no other Laker cracked double figures.

Blake Griffin had 23, one of his best games this season, and Wayne Ellington scored 20 to lead five Pistons in double figures.