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Lakers Show Defensive Prowess in Win Over Pistons
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published November 3, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma drives toward the basket during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Ontario, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Halloween was a night of treats for sports fans in Los Angeles. The Dodgers forced a game seven in the World Series with a 3-1 win. Across town, the Lakers played together and thwarted the Detroit Pistons 113 to 93.

Piston forward Tobias Harris and guard Reggie Jackson led all scorers with 18 points each, center Andre Drummond made 12 rebounds. Forward Julius Randle collected 17 points and forward Larry Nance Jr. made 12 rebounds.

“He’s been playing with great energy defensively he’s been switching on to point guards and containing and staying in front,” head coach Luke Walton said about Randle. “He can change games and he did tonight.”

The Lakers put forth a strong defensive effort, making eight steals in the first half. Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played with the Pistons since he was drafted in 2013.

“I just felt like we threw the first punch,” said Caldwell-Pope. “We got stops on transition, pushed the ball, got easy layups and made them turn the ball over a lot.”

Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points and six rebounds against his former team.

Both teams looked evenly yoked in the beginning minutes tying the game four times. Forward Brandon Ingram began to force turnovers, which aided the Lakers in scoring; he made four steals that night. However, the Pistons kept turning and got within three points of the Lakers at the end of the first 12 minutes.

To open the second quarter, Randle and rookie forward Kyle Kuzma enforced an eight-point run, the Pistons scored only once in the first three minutes. As the starters returned to the hardwood, they maintained the bench’s momentum.

As the seconds dwindled at the end of the second quarter, Ingram dribbled before running towards the paint. He kicked the ball to Lopez, who waited alone in a corner and he sent in a buzzer beating three-pointer, pushing the Lakers ahead 58-45 at the half.

Kuzma surged to lead the Lakers with 10 points by intermission. He ultimately scored 16 points, hitting all four of his shots behind the arc. Walton said that Kuzma played unselfishly; he wants Kuzma to understand shot selection.

“There was one shot, pull-up three, that I told him if [he] missed … he was coming next to me on the bench,” Walton said. “He took good shots.”

The starters excelled in the third, guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball and forward Larry Nance Jr. scored six points each in that period. Harris battled against the Lakers, scoring nine points and one block. Ingram threw up a shot behind the arc as time ran out in the third to score.

Guard Reggie Jackson worked to keep the hope of Detroit alive in the fourth to no avail in the fourth. The Lakers expanded their lead to 23 despite the offensive efforts of Jackson, guard Ish Smith, and forward Anthony Tolliver.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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