What a Win

Upon further review, Frank loves Pistons resolve in toppling LA

The Pistons were able to fight out a close game against the Lakers on Tuesday.
Dan Lippitt/NBAE/Getty Images
Lawrence Frank made his usual million mental notations as he reviewed the game tape from Tuesday night’s 88-85 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers in one of the most stirring wins at The Palace since the Pistons were making annual runs into late May and June.

But there was an overarching theme to the game that made the deepest impression on him: their willpower.

“You just look at all the opportunities there were for us to break, to crack,” he said after Wednesday’s practice while a spirited three-on-three game involving rookies Brandon Knight and Vernon Macklin plus Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva, Will Bynum and assistant coach Dee Brown played out in front of him.

“Get off to a slow start, we didn’t let that define us. Game goes from 31-25 to 37-25, we didn’t let that define us. We don’t score for the first six and a half minutes of the third quarter, we don’t let that define us.

“We do down three in the fourth quarter, we don’t allow that to define us. We have a turnover and they score to go down one, we don’t allow that to define us. Kobe makes a back-breaking, tying-the-game shot, we don’t allow that to define us. We go down three in overtime, we don’t allow that to define us.

“I was just really, really happy with the resolve of our group.”

The Pistons also took the best shots of three All-Star players. Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all played more than 40 minutes – only Rodney Stuckey, who played 42 minutes and scored 34 points – played as many for the Pistons. They combined for 72 of the Lakers’ 85 points. The Pistons also had to win on a night they shot less than 40 percent.

But they took care of the basketball – a mere 10 turnovers – and battled one of the league’s premier rebounding teams to a near standoff on the boards, getting outrebounded 51-48.

The Pistons are 9-6 over their last 15 games. They’ll play two more home games – hosting Atlanta on Friday and Toronto on Saturday – before embarking on a road-heavy stretch that will see them play nine of 10 and 13 of 17 away from The Palace. Over a 20-day span, the Pistons will sleep in their own beds two nights. It starts with a five-game trip West that opens with a Monday game at Utah.

“I’m only thinking about the next game,” Frank said.

And maybe just a little about the last game.