Lakers forward LeBron James drives as Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart defends during the first half on Thursday in Detroit. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)
The Lakers were in the game at the end of the third quarter, trailing by just four, winning the back-to-back game obviously still in reach.
But the Lakers lost this game by not being able to keep up with the Detroit Pistons in the fourth.
The Lakers’ struggles were magnified by them scoring just 14 points in the fourth, a big reason why they scored a season-low in points. They shot just 28.6% from the field and just 16.7% from three-point range by going one for six.
Meanwhile, the Pistons scored 25 points in the fourth and shot 50% from the field in pulling away for a 107-92 win over the Lakers Thursday night in Detroit.
“Look like our legs got to us a little bit on the second game of a back-to-back,” LeBron James said after playing 35 minutes and 45 seconds. “So, that was a result of it.”
Five takeaways from the Lakers’ loss to the Pistons:
1. Talen Horton-Tucker played just seven minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, but he performed well when his name was called in the game against the Pistons on Thursday night.
He played 14 minutes and eight seconds and had 13 points, two rebounds and one assist.
He was five-for-seven from the field, three-for-three from three-point range.
“I just try to stay ready throughout everything,” Horton-Tucker said. “Not kind of knowing what role I play when the game starts is kind of hard. Just being able to stay ready and just come in and do what I know how to do.”
2. It was a special night for Kyle Kuzma even during the loss.
His mother, Karri Kuzma, got to attend the game in Detroit and he started in place of Anthony Davis, who was out with a bruised right quad.
She drove from his hometown of Flint to see her son start his fifth game this season.
“I bet she was very, very happy to be there,” Kuzma said. “A couple of my cousins came as well. My mom’s been going through a tough time recently. One of her best friends just passed away. So, I’m sure that her seeing her boy starting and playing the Pistons back at home means everything to her. So, I’m glad that she was able to be there for that.”
She saw her son produce his fifth double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds in 29:56.
In five starts this season, Kuzma has averaged 14.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
3. Former Lakers guard Wayne Ellington had a great game for the Pistons, shooting lights-out from three-point range.
Ellington gave the Lakers fits with his 20 points on seven-for-12 shooting and his six-for-nine on three-pointers.
4. The numbers tell of an uneven game for Lakers center Marc Gasol.
He didn’t score, missing both of his field-goal attempts and he was a minus-six.
But Gasol had nine rebounds and four assists in his 25 minutes of action.
5. The Lakers starting five of James, Kuzma, Gasol, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroder scored a season-low 60 points. James had 22 points, Kuzma 22, Caldwell-Pope six, Schroder 10 and Gasol zero.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Originally published January 29, 2021, 6:00 AM