The Los Angeles Lakers saw their road winning streak evaporate against the top team in the Eastern Conference. They will get a chance to start a new streak against one of the East’s worst teams.
The Lakers lost a 107-106 thriller to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. In the second game of a back-to-back, they will play the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
Los Angeles had won its first 10 road games this season. The Lakers trailed the Sixers by 14 points with less than five minutes to go but scored 13 unanswered points to take a one-point lead in the final minute. Tobias Harris made a pullup, game-winning jumper with three seconds remaining.
The Lakers had captured three victories to begin their seven-game road trip before getting tripped up by Philadelphia.
“We didn’t do enough throughout the course of the game to put ourselves in a position to win, but it was a heck of a fight down the stretch,” Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel said.
LeBron James had a typically solid game with 34 points, six rebounds and six assists. However, the Lakers trailed most of the way as they struggled from the perimeter, making just 33.3 percent of their 3-point attempts.
James felt his team committed too many fouls in the early going, which helped the Sixers build their early lead.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity to win it at the end and it doesn’t go our way, but I loved our fight,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of keeping our hands out of the cookie jar.”
They also will look to get better production out of their bench in Detroit. The Los Angeles reserves contributed just 22 points as the top second-unit players — Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma — combined for just three points.
Detroit is coming off a 122-107 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. Turnovers led to the Pistons’ demise, as they committed 22 that the Cavaliers converted into 30 points.
“Just got to play smarter,” Detroit guard Derrick Rose said. “That’s all it is. Make good decisions with the ball, simple decisions, and just know now whenever you’re in an iso situation, somebody is probably coming from behind.”
The Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak in their previous outing, a 119-104 home triumph over the Sixers on Monday. Detroit shot 50 percent from the field that night. The Pistons made a respectable 45.1 percent of their field-goal attempts against the Cavaliers but couldn’t overcome the miscues.
“I’ll take responsibility for (the giveaways) because we’re trying to run a kick-out, ball-movement offense,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “You get 29 assists with 22 turnovers, that’s a bad recipe. I thought against Philly we played as beautiful basketball as you could play. Tonight, we played like we never worked with each other.”
Pistons guard Wayne Ellington continued to have the hot hand from the perimeter. He made half of his eight 3-point attempts and has knocked down at least four in each of his past six games.
“We shot 40 percent from the (3-point range), but we didn’t get enough of them because we didn’t have enough possessions,” Casey said.
Detroit forward Blake Griffin sat out Wednesday due to injury management but is expected to play Thursday.
The teams will meet again in Los Angeles on Feb. 6.
–Field Level Media