Los Angeles — The Detroit Pistons played competitive basketball in both games against the Los Angeles Clippers and L.A. Lakers, but ultimately came up short in both, losing the first two games of their west coast swing.
Alec Burks led Detroit with 23 points off the bench, while Killian Hayes flirted with a double-double of 19 points and nine assists.
Here are a few observations from the Pistons’ 128-121 loss to the Lakers:
Foul trouble for Pistons big men: The first quarter was not ideal for Detroit’s trio of big men. Marvin Bagley committed two fouls within the first two minutes of the game. Foul trouble hindered the Pistons center the night before against the Clippers. Jalen Duren had an early opportunity to make an impact in his first game against the Lakers, but he picked up two fouls within his first three minutes of action. This prompted Dwane Casey to break the emergency glass and call on Nerlens Noel, who entered the game fresh off riding an elliptical. The same theme would continue with Noel, who committed three fouls in six minutes, forcing Bagley to return. Despite their early foul trouble, the Pistons finished the first quarter with a 37-30 lead.
Boost by Burks: The Pistons received a much-needed boost from their bench on Friday, finishing with 48 points from their reserves. Detroit has searched for offensive production from their bench all season and the return of Alec Burks has helped tremendously. The veteran guard has the ability to create shots for himself, but he’s most deadly on catch-and-shoot 3-point opportunities. Burks finished with a team-high 23 points and paced Detroit as Los Angeles tried to make their imprint on the game.
Injury bug bites again: Saddiq Bey, who rarely misses games, took a spill midway through the fourth quarter. He was helped to the bench and ultimately escorted to the locker room. Bey’s streak of 152 consecutive games could be in jeopardy as the Pistons will play again on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings. The Pistons are already without two starters in Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart. Despite Bey ‘s recent offensive struggles, his loss would limit the Pistons even more, especially on the glass.
Killian Hayes’ career shooting night: Killian Hayes had a quiet night against the Clippers, but that amplified his game tremendously against the Lakers. The third-year guard caught fire in the first half and knocked down three 3-pointers. Hayes has produced a recent stretch of games that has shown his improved level of self-confidence. After knocking down his third 3-pointer, Hayes ran back down the court holding three fingers up to symbolize his hot streak. He finished with a career-high four 3-pointers to go along with 16 points and eight assists.
Birthday night for Duren: Friday marked the 19th birthday of the youngest player in the NBA, Jalen Duren. It appeared as if Duren would pick up where he left off in Thursday’s game against the Clippers after he slammed one down in the first quarter. However, the rookie center got into early foul trouble and was limited throughout the night. He finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four fouls in 19 minutes. He also became the second-youngest player (19 years, 0 days) to record at least 100 rebounds and 15 blocks within their first 14 career games, behind only Dwight Howard (18 years, 348 days).