Detroit Pistons: Best games of the season’s first half

Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons Copyright 2021 NBAE.
Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons Copyright 2021 NBAE. /
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Mason Plumlee Lakers-Pistons
Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) defends as Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) passes the ball to forward Anthony Davis (3) during overtime.Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

1. February 6: Los Angeles Lakers 135, Detroit Pistons 129 (2OT)

While it was a loss, this was by far the most exciting game of the first half.

You have to remember the circumstances going into the contest to understand what a great battle it was.

Just nine days earlier, Detroit had blown out the Lakers, 107-92, at Little Caesars Arena. So, despite their record, there was no reason for Los Angeles to take the Pistons lightly.

In the first matchup, the Lakers had been without star forward Anthony Davis. He was back for the rematch.

The Pistons were without Blake Griffin (sitting out for load management, he was still part of the team at that point). Sekou Doumbouya, who had played so well against the Lakers the year before, got the start. Unfortunately, he did not do well, shooting 1-for-7 for four points.

The Pistons were also playing the second game of a back to back, and they played poorly at Phoenix the night before.

The Lakers held the lead most of the way (Detroit only led eight out of the 58 minutes) but the Pistons were always within hailing distance.

Josh Jackson provided a big spark off the bench, scoring 28 points off the bench. Grant was also active offensively, scoring 31 points.

Against another NBA powerhouse, Delon Wright had a big game. He scored 22 points and dished out 10 assists (to three turnovers). Svi Mykhailiuk provided some badly needed offense against his former team, with three three-pointers and 11 points.

Jackson made a driving layup with three seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 106-106 and send the game into overtime.

The Pistons held a two-point lead in overtime until Davis made a basket with 18 seconds left. Grant then missed, under pressure, a short jumper and the game went into a second overtime.

With 2:38 left in the second overtime, the Pistons held a one-point lead. LeBron James then decided he had enough of all this.

James scored on a drive to give the Lakers the lead. He then hit two three-pointers to give them enough space to (barely) pull out the win.

If there ever is a thing like a ‘Moral victory’, this was it.

Taking on the defending NBA champions, with their full complement of players, and push them to their very limit, was quite satisfying.

Just seeing LeBron scowl most of the game, not quite believing that, at home and having Davis, they were in a absolute knock-down, drag-out fight with the Detroit Pistons, was quite fun for Pistons fans to observe (if they were able to stay up that late.

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At his press conference right before the start of the second half, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver talked about how the team was competitive, just like he had promised.

Is Detroit a playoff team? Not likely. But they have certainly been entertaining to watch, which is not something one could say the past couple of years.

Hopefully there will be more exciting games in the second half to review.