Detroit Pistons-Lakers: Good, Bad and Ugly

Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin ( Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin ( Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second time in five days, the Detroit Pistons blew out an NBA title contender. The victim on Thursday was the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose playing like it was 2011, and Wayne Ellington, who is older than both of them, looking better than he did 10 years ago, the Pistons rolled to a 107-92 victory over the defending NBA champs.

The Lakers did not have Anthony Davis, but they did have everyone else, including LeBron James, who has bedeviled Pistons fans for many years.

Detroit also won despite a sub-par shooting performance on offense by Jerami Grant, who only had 14 points. He did have six assists and, down the stretch, provided defense on James just like he did in last season’s Western final.

All in all, it was a pretty fun night for Detroit fans.

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the game.

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Blake Griffin: Where has this guy been? It looked like instead of the 2020-21 middling version of Griffin, the All-NBA player of 2018-19 came out of a time machine and replaced him.

Griffin’s line from the game: 23 points, six assists, three rebounds and a +24 was routine for most of his career, but not lately.

He was strong, confident and could score from outside (five three-pointers) and inside. He was … Blake Griffin like.

Welcome back.

Wayne Ellington: This is not an old timer taking advantage of padding his stats against substitutes or garbage time. The 33-year-old Ellington has been on fire of late, and he has torched two of the top teams in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, in the past week.

Ellington had 20 points and was 6-for-9 on three-pointers, and this was against a great defensive team in the Lakers. And it is not like Ellington is some secret, he has played on a third of all NBA teams in his 12-year-career.

Ellington extended his franchise record to eight of having four or more three-pointers in a game.

Wayne Ellington's amazing re-birth. light. Related Story

Derrick Rose: If Detroit was going to be competitive with the Lakers, they could not have the inefficient, turnover-prone player Rose has been for most of the season.

Instead, they got the Rose who was such a leader on the floor the previous year. Rose had 14 points in 20 minutes, shooting 50% from the floor, and having just two turnovers.

Rose made some big buckets in the fourth quarter that helped the Pistons pull away.

Pistons (lack of) turnovers: Literally 24 hours earlier, Detroit was flinging the ball all over the place against Cleveland, only occasionally hitting a teammate with a pass. They had 22 turnovers, which led to 30 Cavaliers points.

Against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Pistons finished with just eight turnovers, and just one in the first half. Starting point guard Delon Wright had zero.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Pistons bench scoring: Yes, Isaiah Stewart was a beast on the boards but, Detroit had been ranked as the top scoring bench in the NBA. They did not shoot like it Thursday.

Taking away Rose’s points, all the subs combined scored 13 points, eight of them by Stewart. Josh Jackson, Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhaliuk were a combined 2-for-12 from the field. Yikes!

Because Griffin and Ellington were making pretty much everything, Detroit survived. But the Pistons will need their subs to contribute in the future.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Lakers fourth quarter: With seven minutes remaining, Detroit held a one-point lead (88-87). Fans were just waiting for the expected LeBron James taking over game to give the Lakers the victory act, we have seen many times.

Fourth quarter collapses are kind of what the Pistons do this season.

Instead, it was Detroit who took a stranglehold on the contest. The Pistons went on a 16-0 run to put the game away. It is hopefully a sign that Detroit is learning how to play in crunch time.

Next. Detroit Pistons crush Lakers: 3 Big Takeaways. dark

It was the Lakers first double-digit loss of the season. The Pistons have in the past five days defeated the top team in the Eastern Conference and the second-best team (record-wise) in the Western Conference. And neither game was close at the end.

Detroit has not won two games in a row all season. Their next chance is at Golden State on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET).