Detroit Pistons-Lakers (2OT); The Good, Bad and Ugly

Feb 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Josh Jackson (20) is fouled by Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14). Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Josh Jackson (20) is fouled by Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14). Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons almost achieved a series sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, but eventually fell, 135-129, in double overtime at the Staples Center.

It is sort of ironic that, in an 0-4 road trip, the two games the Detroit Pistons were competitive in were against the Lakers and the Utah Jazz, arguably the top two teams in the NBA at the moment.

If you were able to stay up to 1 a.m., you witnessed an exciting game. Not the best played (42 turnovers total) but fun to watch.

Detroit, playing a back-to-back, finally ran out of gas in the second overtime. They were missing Blake Griffin, Wayne Ellington and the soon to be departed Derrick Rose.

But, it still took a three-pointer by Anthony Davis and two at the end by LeBron James to pull the game out.

It was fun watching LeBron scowl the whole time, not happy his team was in a knock down-drag out fight with the Pistons.

Here are the Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Josh Jackson: It looked like this would be an easy Lakers win. They held  a 17-point lead with 3:34 left in the third period. But Jackson then got the hot hand, pouring in 21 of his 28 points in the second half. With that spark , the Pistons came roaring back to make it a game.

Jackson, who had lost his starting shooting guard spot to Wayne Ellington, and now Saddiq Bey, finished with 28 points and eight rebounds. Detroit was +13 with Jackson in the game.

We will see if this is a breakout game for Jackson.

Jerami Grant: Showed he was a true go-to scorer with 32 points. He also had six assist, four rebounds and two steals.

Grant’s defense on LeBron James was, like in last year’s playoffs, solid. At the end, James constantly demanded a pick from Davis so Grant would no longer be guarding him.

He almost won the game with a baseline runner at the end of the first overtime that just missed. The game was definitely an advertisement for Grant being an All-Star.

Detroit Pistons: How to vote Jerami Grant in as an All-Star. light. Related Story

Delon Wright: In a pressure-filled game, Wright was a cool, customer running the point. Even though backup Saben Lee had a good game (seven points in five minutes), coach Dwane Casey put the ball Wright’s hands down the stretch.,

Wright had 22 points, 10 assists and hit 4-for-4 on three-pointers. Importantly, he only had three turnovers playing 46 minutes.

If Derrick Rose is truly gone, Detroit will need Wright to keep playing at a high level.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Pistons turnovers: Detroit had done a good job of taking care of the ball just 24 hours earlier against Phoenix. This time, they turned it over 20 times, and it was not bad passes to start the offense, as point guards Delon Wright, Rodney McGruder and Saben Lee combined for just three turnovers in 58 minutes.

Everyone else flung the ball away a few times, led by Mason Plumlee with five turnovers.

Yes, the Lakers had even more turnovers (22) but, Detroit does not have LeBron James and Anthony Davis to make up for it. If the Pistons had taken care of the ball, they might have had an easy win.

Plumlee-Grant switch: Jerami Grant gained notoriety for his defense on LeBron James in last year’s Western Conference final. LeBron remembered, as he called for a pick to get Grant switched from guarding him.

Most of the time, Mason Plumlee got switched onto LeBron, who proceeded to torch him  with drives and three-pointers. It is not all Plumlee’s fault. He simply does not have the athleticism to guard James in the open court.

Maybe it was time to put in Sekou Doumbouya on defense for Plumlee. Or call no switching and have Grant stay with James. They switched pretty easily, with Grant taking David.

Something should have been done to stop the mismatch.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Pistons: We constantly are being told that the Lakers are better than last year’s team that won the NBA championship. Well, in 104 minutes of play, the Pistons outscored them by nine points.

Detroit came in tired, without three of its top players, and with the worst record in the NBA, while the Lakers were restes and at full strength. Yet, the Lakers needed hero ball from James and Davis – in the second overtime – to pull out a win.

If you just watched them against the Pistons, you would not think so highly of Los Angeles. They had two ugly games against Detroit.

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it would have been awesome to beat the Lakers twice this season. But, if you could stay up, you were truly entertained.

The Pistons were finally back to being the Pistons. A team that would never give up and can play with the best of the NBA, but just not win.

Hey, Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Kyrie Irving and James Harden (no Durant). That will be an easy one, huh? (Is there some law that Detroit can’t play a team with a losing record?)