LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis had 38 points and 16 rebounds, Lonnie Walker added 17 points and the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Detroit Pistons 128-121 on Friday night to win consecutive games for only the second time this season.
LeBron James missed his third straight game with a left groin strain for the Lakers, unable to return even after his struggling team had the previous four days off. His teammates still earned Los Angeles’ fourth victory of a rough season with a second-half surge catalyzed by Austin Reaves, who scored 11 of his 16 points after halftime, and finished off by Davis’ 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“I’d be glad if I had zero points and we won,” Davis said. “We’ve got to put a string of wins together to get back in this thing, but take it one game at a time.”
After dropping 37 on the Nets, Davis had his second consecutive prolific game in James’ absence, even going 18 of 21 from the free throw line. Davis has back-to-back 30-point games for the first time since last Feb. 2-3.
“He’s been a monster this whole season, but definitely the last three games or so,” Reaves said. “That’s what he does, and everybody knows it.”
Russell Westbrook had 10 points and 12 assists for the Lakers, who had lost five straight before back-to-back victories over Brooklyn and Detroit.
Alec Burks scored 23 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 for the Pistons, who have lost six straight. Killian Hayes had 18 before fouling out as Detroit dropped back-to-back games in Los Angeles to open a six-game road trip.
The Pistons, who have lost 14 of 16, played their fourth straight game without former No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, who has a sore left shin.
“We’re struggling, trying to find a win,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Everybody is going to have their opportunity, so don’t count your minutes, make your minutes count.”
The Lakers’ injury problems lessened with the season debuts of Dennis Schröder and big man Thomas Bryant, who both rejoined Los Angeles in the offseason. Both then missed the first 13 games with similar thumb injuries that required surgery.
Bryant had eight points and five rebounds against the Pistons, while Schröder had two assists and played strong defense. Bryant re-signed with LA in July, four years after the Lakers waived him, while Schröder re-signed in September after the German point guard spent the past year away with Boston and Houston.
“It was great just playing in front of the fans,” Schröder said. “My first time (with the Lakers) was after COVID, so I didn’t get to experience our fans.”
Los Angeles trailed by 14 in the second quarter, but took a 68-64 halftime lead on Walker’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer off a beautiful inbounds pass from far down the sideline by Westbrook, who had 10 assists in the first half alone.
Pistons: Saddiq Bey injured his ankle in the fourth quarter. Casey didn’t immediately know the injury’s seriousness. … C Isaiah Stewart missed his second straight game with a sprained big toe. … G Cory Joseph was available, but didn’t play after missing two games with hip soreness.
Lakers: Coach Darvin Ham is a Michigan native who rooted for the Pistons growing up before he won a title with Detroit as a player in 2004. He said he’s still in close contact with Larry Brown, his coach on that championship team. … Juan Toscano-Anderson missed the game with back soreness. … Rookie G Max Christie missed the game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Pistons: At Sacramento on Sunday.
Lakers: Host San Antonio on Sunday.
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