The Lakers did well to bounce back from their blowout loss in Philly to deliver a dominant win of their own in Detroit, downing the Pistons 133-107 on Wednesday night. The victory moves the Lakers to 2-1 on their road trip and up to 11-8 on the season overall.
Bucking the trend of being a poor 1st quarter team, the Lakers took control of the game early in this one, generating good looks vs. a Pistons defense that did not quite know how to handle the inside-outside attack established by Anthony Davis and D'Angelo Russell. With AD picking and rolling into the paint and running the floor in transition, and Russell probing the defense from the perimeter and then taking advantage of space to get off his jumper, the Lakers set the terms of engagement and the Pistons did not have many answers.
Russell's overall shot making was sublime, knocking down 13 of his 17 attempts from the field, including a blistering 5-of-7 from behind the arc for a game-high 35 points to go along with nine assists and four rebounds.
Russell ducked behind and slithered around screens, using his frame to shield off defenders for layups and the rim and drifting jumpers in the mid-range. And when the defense tried to cut off his angles or sag off him, he would just step back or dribble into a three-pointer to punish whatever coverage was thrown at him.
As for AD, he simply dominated the paint on both ends of the floor all night. Davis scored 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting, grabbed 16 rebounds (four offensive), dished out four assists, and blocked three shots. Davis played with good tempo, not only running the floor well when off the ball, but turning defensive rebounds into grab-and-go's where he pushed the pace himself to get the Lakers into their offense quickly where they could hunt easy shots before the defense was set.
Davis' passing also continued to impress, not only picking out cutters and slinging skip passes to open teammates, but throwing some excellent outlet passes to teammates who leaked out against Detroit's transition defense. Overall, it was just a great all-around game for Davis who took it to the Pistons' young and talented front court.
Beyond Davis and Russell, LeBron joined them as a third Laker with at least 20 points, when he connected on nine of his 19 shot attempts to score 25 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists. With Russell and Davis playing such prominent roles in the Lakers offense, LeBron did more work on the margins, cutting, screening and rolling, and coming off screens to get shot attempts. Such is the versatility of his game that he does not always need to dominate the ball in order to score effectively.
With the Lakers up comfortably for the majority of the game, Coach Ham got opportunities to play his young players for an extended stretch and rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino made the most of his minutes with a nice showing. Hood-Schifino scored his first NBA bucket on a nice step back jumper, and added a couple additional made field goals and some free throws to score 10 points on 3-4 shooting.
The Lakers now move on to Oklahoma City for the 2nd night of a back-to-back against the young and competitive Thunder where they will look to carry some of this momentum forward and close out their road trip with a win.