After losing by 44 points to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to win and win big on Wednesday to get back on track. That’s exactly what they did.
They faced the Detroit Pistons, who came into Wednesday’s game with the NBA’s worst record at 2-15, and they made quick work of them. Although the first four minutes were competitive, Los Angeles took control shortly afterward, and the Pistons had no chance at victory at any time afterward.
In the blink of an eye, it led 30-14, and it gradually extended its lead throughout the evening at Little Caesers Arena. The Purple and Gold easily outrebounded the Pistons and had a huge 38-14 advantage in free throw attempts while outscoring the Pistons 22-10 in fast-break points.
In the end, the Lakers’ 133-107 victory made for plenty of fourth-quarter garbage time, allowing their main players to get a little rest. That rest should help them when they face the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday to wrap up their four-game road trip and attempt to improve to a 12-8 record on the season.
Anthony Davis: A
Davis got off to a good start, just as he did against Philly, but this time, he maintained his high level of play throughout the contest. He scored 28 points, with the majority of them coming in the first half, gobbled up 16 rebounds and added four assists and three blocked shots. As usual, he shot a high percentage from the field, and he had a season-high 13 free throw attempts, of which he made 10.
When Davis starts a game off hot, it makes a big difference in how the Lakers as a whole start games.
Taurean Prince: B
Prince may be regaining his shooting eye from 3-point range lately. He went 3-of-4 from the field on Wednesday, with all four attempts coming from deep, and he scored nine points to go along with one rebound, one steal and one assist.
This was the third time in the last four games he shot at least 40% from downtown. That’s the type of long-range accuracy L.A. desperately needs from him.
Max Christie: C-minus
Although Cam Reddish returned to the team after missing the last three games with groin soreness, Christie retained his starting spot. He missed all three of his shot attempts, although he did make all five of his free throw attempts while adding two rebounds and one blocked shot.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Christie’s starting spot moving forward with Reddish back and Jarred Vanderbilt, who was a starter last season, nearing a return himself.
D'Angelo Russell: A-plus
Russell couldn’t have possibly played any better on Wednesday. He made his first six shots and remained hot for practically the entire contest to finish 13-of-17 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown, giving him 35 points. He also dished off nine assists, obtained four rebounds, blocked two shots and added one steal.
It’s this type of play from him that will help preserve the Lakers’ two superstars, particularly LeBron James, while raising their overall ceiling.
LeBron James: B-plus/A-minus
James was seemingly on cruise control for much of this contest, although he turned things up a notch at times to make sure the Lakers would maintain a big lead. He shot 9-of-19 to score 25 points while also contributing eight rebounds and four assists.
He was able to rest for much of the fourth quarter, and he logged only 29 minutes, which should help him be able to play his best on Thursday in Oklahoma City.
Christian Wood: B-minus
Wood shot 4-of-9 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts, giving him just 12 points in 25 minutes. But he did pull down nine rebounds and block two shots while adding a steal, which should make the team’s coaching staff very happy, especially given his reputation.
However, moving forward, the Lakers need more offense, particularly from 3-point land, from him. Despite the ease at which they won this game, they shot just 34.3% from 3-point land, and Wood came into Wednesday shooting just 30.4% from that distance.
Cam Reddish: C
After missing three games with groin soreness, Reddish returned to game action on Wednesday. While he went 0-of-3 from the field, he contributed three rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.
It may take a little time for him to shake off the cobwebs, but L.A. will need some accurate 3-point shooting from him to go along with the solid team defense he has been providing.
Austin Reaves: D
This was a quiet game for the undrafted guard. He shot 3-of-8 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts, limiting him to six points in 24 minutes. But he did help out with four assists, three rebounds and one blocked shot.
Jalen Hood-Schifino: A-minus/B-plus
Schifino finally scored his first official NBA field goal shortly after he entered the game in the fourth quarter. He made three of his four shot attempts, which included a 3-pointer, giving him 10 points plus one rebound, one assist and one steal in 11 minutes.
D'Moi Hodge: B
The undrafted guard got five minutes of playing time versus the Pistons, and he made one of his two trey attempts to score three points.
Jaxson Hayes, Maxwell Lewis, Alex Fudge: Incomplete
Hayes played seven minutes and contributed one rebound and one blocked shot before leaving the game with left elbow soreness. The Lakers will need him on Thursday when they go up against Rookie of the Year candidate Chet Holmgren.
Lewis had two assists and two steals in seven minutes, while Fudge, a 6-foot-8 undrafted forward out of Louisiana State University and the University of Florida, got an offensive rebound in four minutes of play.