When a 16-46 team meets a 23-39 opponent, there aren’t a slew of expectations; especially when primary players are sitting on the bench wearing suits.

The Lakers have been without Kobe Bryant, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and the Pistons have had to play without Brandon Jennings since tearing his Achilles in January. Bottom-dwellers these teams are, however, they still need to play out the season, and be darned if they aren’t trying to go after these relatively pointless wins.

Clarkson

The Lakers led for the majority of the game, with the Pistons overtaking the advantage in pockets. Except for the second quarter where Detroit outscored the Lakers 30-24, it was the home team who maintained the upper hand for the rest of the three quarters.

Balanced scoring for the purple and gold, in addition to a concerted defensive effort, resulted in the Lakers’ 17th victory of the season, 93-85.


 

What Went Right

  • Balance – Seven Lakers scored in double figures tonight, led by Jordan Hill’s 16 points on 7-15 from the field. From a sweeping hook shot, to a long jumper to up the lead to five with just under 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter, to two dagger free throws in the very final seconds of the game, Hill was there at the right time every time. Ed Davis, with 13 points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal, had another well-rounded game. Aside from his welcome offense, he’s always waiting to clear the boards. Hill and Davis didn’t overpower Detroit’s talented big men, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, who combined for 38 points and 30 rebounds (21 were Drummond’s), but they held their own just the same.  Doing their part was the Lakers’ backcourt. Jordan Clarkson had another solid game. He may have only shot 4-12 from the field for his 10 points, but he had a career high in assists with 8, the most in the game. Jeremy Lin, off the bench, had 12 points despite going just 1-4 (a three was his singular field goal made), but he got to the line 12 times and converted 9, adding in seven rebounds, five assists and a steal.
  • Ball Movement – 23 assists of 32 made field goals, and just 12 turnovers.
  • Defensive Effort – In their 17 wins this season, the common thread is the effort on the defensive end, and tonight was no exception. After giving up 30 points in the second quarter, the Lakers didn’t allow Detroit to score for the first six minutes of the third quarter, where the Pistons only scored 11 points on 20% shooting.
  • Full Game Effort – The Lakers managed to play with the same effort from beginning to end. Their opponent may not be playoff contenders, but they’ve played teams more hapless than they, leading until the final minutes, just completely incapable of closing.
  • Milestone Game – Tonight marked Byron’s Scott’s 1,000th game coached in the NBA. Thankfully, his team rewarded him with a win.

 

What Went Wrong

  • Three ball– The Lakers shot just 23% from beyond the arc, 3-13. The usual suspects were just not feeling it tonight. Wayne Ellington, most notably, was 1-4 from downtown.
  • Ryan Kelly – Kelly just couldn’t find the bottom of the net tonight. He played just over 15 minutes but managed just four points, all from the free throw line. He went just 0-3 from the field.

 

The Lakers swept the season series against Detroit, which may be the only series sweep they complete this season. Next up are the New York Knicks, who have an even worse record at 12-51. Should be an interesting homecoming for former Laker and Champion Derek Fisher.

Box Score

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