The Detroit Pistons’ putrid defense let them down again as the team dropped the second game in LA in as many nights. The Lakers coasted to a 128-121 victory behind Anthony Davis’ 38 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
Detroit didn’t put up any resistance on the defensive end all night, and wore down even further down the stretch until the Lakers were able to get pretty much anything they wanted in the paint. LA scored 66 points in the paint and went to the free-throw line 40 times, 21 of those by Davis. The Lakers did all this without the services of LeBron James, mind you.
The points and free throws represented season highs for the Lakers. They also shot a season-high 55% overall, including 62% inside the arc.
The Pistons got bursts of effort and energy from a handful of players — Hamidou Diallo played a strong stretch, but but knocked out of the game after taking an elbow to the face that knocked a tooth loose. It was determined to be a flagrant 1 foul and Diallo, gauze stuffed in his mouth, came out to shoot the technical free throw but did not return.
Killian Hayes was really the lone bright spot for Detroit all around. He played his typically strong defense, including several instances where his pressure and awareness simply forced the Lakers into poor decisions. But he also scored, and that’s always the biggest litmus test for Hayes, and one he is passing more frequently of late.
Hayes had a season-high 18 points to go with nine assists and zero turnovers. He also hit a career-high four 3-pointers and was 7-of-14 from the floor overall.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 points and got off to a fast start, but he continues to be an undersized turn style on defense when forced to play power forward. Alec Burks starred in the second half, scoring a team-high 23 points and showed continued solid decision-making and veteran savvy.
The polar opposite of savvy was on display from Detroit’s two rookies in Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren. The latter played decently, but left his feet a few times when he shouldn’t have and got coaxed into some dumb fouls. Ivey showcased a whole other level of bad decision-making. He was 1-of-9 from 3-point land, and the large majority of those shots were early in the shot clocked and ill-advised. He was really forcing the issue with his shot instead of relying on his drives to the rim.
It’s OK for Ivey to want to show defenses the other parts of his game so that they are forced to factor in things other than line drives to the rim, but that doesn’t mean a pull-up 3 with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. Seriously, I checked the tape. Ivey’s nine 3-point attempts were with the shot clock at: 15, 3.4 (unclear as the nba.com video clip was out of sync), 16, 21, 16, 15, 15, 9, 16.
It felt like it wasn’t just Ivey settling for poor shots. It felt like Ivey was being stubborn and felt like he had something to prove.
Sometimes that happens with rookies. He’ll hopefully figure out the nuances of when to attack, when to defer, and what constitutes a good shot. But it wasn’t to be on Saturday in Crypto.com Arena.