Bojan Bogdanovic outdueled by Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis in Pistons’ 124-117 loss

Detroit Free Press

The Los Angeles Lakers have underwhelmed this season, but they’re still one of the NBA’s best teams when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are feeling it.

The Detroit Pistons were on the receiving end of a strong effort from the superstar duo Sunday, and a season-best performance from Bojan Bogdanovic wasn’t enough. The Pistons lost, 124-117, at Little Caesars Arena after a dagger 3-pointer from Austin Reaves gave the Lakers (11-15) a five-point lead with 12.4 seconds left.

A 3-pointer from Alec Burks on the next possession missed, and Davis made a pair of free throws to seal Los Angeles’ win.

James, who has had his share of strong performances in Detroit over the past two decades, finished with 35 points, five assists and five rebounds. Davis, one of the NBA’s hottest players over the past month, added 34 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists to hand the NBA-worst Pistons (7-22) their third straight loss.

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Bogdanovic scored a season-high 38 points — 25 in the third quarter — to trim a double-digit halftime deficit to one at the end of the third quarter. But the Pistons couldn’t get another player going offensively to counter the Lakers’ one-two punch. Jaden Ivey finished with 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting, and Saddiq Bey (14 points), Burks (11 points) and Marvin Bagley III (10 points) reached double figures. Jalen Duren grabbed 13 rebounds, his third straight game grabbing at least 10.

Bogdanovic made his final bucket of the night, a layup, with 35 seconds left to bring the Pistons within 119-117. The Pistons took an early 1-0 lead after a split trip at the line by Duren, who started his second consecutive game. It was their only lead of the night, as the Lakers led by as many as 13 in the first quarter to take control.

The Pistons visit the Charlotte Hornets (7-20) on Wednesday, then have home games against Sacramento (Friday), Brooklyn (Sunday) and Utah (Dec. 20).

Bogdanovic has historic third quarter

When you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it. That’s the only way to describe Bogdanovic’s third-quarter heater, which saw him score 25 points and make five of six 3-pointers in the period. The Pistons trailed 61-49 at halftime, and Bogdanovic almost single-handedly was the reason the Pistons cut the deficit to 91-90 at the end of the third.

A crosscourt pass from Killian Hayes got Bogdanovic his first 3-pointer of the quarter with 6:14 on the clock, cutting the deficit to nine. Bogdanovic proceeded to score Detroit’s next nine points, all 3s. His fourth 3-ball at the 4:41 mark made it 75-70, and his fifth 3 roughly two minutes later reduced the deficit to 85-81. The 33-year-old capped the quarter with a trio of free throws.

The Pistons shot 13-for-24 in the quarter, 9-for-14 from 3 and outscored the Lakers 41-30. Bogdanovic’s 25 points were the second-most scored by a Piston in a quarter since the 1995-96 season. Will Bynum set the record with a 26-point fourth quarter on April 6, 2009, and Reggie Jackson matched Bynum’s record on Nov. 9, 2015 at Portland.

At halftime, Detroit was 6-for-19 for 3 and struggled to sustain runs, as James (19 points, 8-12 shooting at halftime) and Davis (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists at halftime) were both having strong offensive games. The Pistons ultimately fell short, but Bogdanovic’s heroics gave them a fighting chance late in the game.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.

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