Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Lakers beat Pistons in calm rematch

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (second left) passes the ball away from Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (left) and center Isaiah Stewart (28) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (second left) passes the ball away from Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (left) and center Isaiah Stewart (28) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (AP):

LEBRON JAMES and Isaiah Stewart had no Round Two in the Lakers’ rematch with the Pistons.

James was too busy making sure Los Angeles got the same decision he was not around to see last week in Detroit.

James had 33 points, nine assists and no confrontations with Stewart in the Lakers’ 110-106 victory on Sunday night.

Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists and Anthony Davis added 24 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers returned to .500 with their second win over Detroit in eight days, rebounding from an embarrassing triple-overtime loss to Sacramento on Friday.

“That Sac game lingered with us for a couple of days, giving that game away,” Davis said. “I think we did a good job defensively tonight, getting this kick-start to a winning streak.”

Stewart was booed repeatedly and zealously by the Lakers’ crowd, but he appeared to have no significant interactions with James after both players were ejected from the teams’ meeting in Detroit a week earlier for an ugly altercation.

James was assessed a Flagrant-two foul and ejected when he hit Stewart in the face while they jockeyed for rebounding position. An infuriated Stewart repeatedly attempted to charge at James in the aftermath, earning his own ejection. James served a one-game suspension and Stewart got a two-game ban.

Stewart kept the pot stirring Friday by saying he did not think James’ blow had been accidental, as James claims it was. The 20-year-old Stewart is 3 1/2 years older than James’ oldest son, Bronny.

James was well past the brouhaha before the rematch.

“We were mad as heck the other night after that Sac loss,” James said. “We made it a point to come in today very focused on our game plan, learning from our mistakes, and we got better. Right there lets me know we’re a team that cares and wants to get better.”

The Pistons also didn’t feel there was any extra juice to the rematch.

“It’s just basketball,” Jerami Grant said. “Things happen on the court, but you’ve got to get your mind right and get ready to play.”

Grant scored 32 points and No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Pistons’ sixth straight loss. Detroit followed up its 11-point loss to the Clippers at Staples Center on Friday by being more competitive against Los Angeles’ other team, but falling short again.

Stewart had five points and six rebounds in 27 minutes in the rematch.

“We did a great job moving the ball,” Grant said. “Almost played a complete game. We had a mental lapse in the third quarter and let them get a lead, but, other than that, I think we played well.”

Detroit coach Dwane Casey praised his young team’s improvements on offence, including 29 assists on 38 field goals and 39.4 per cent shooting on three pointers.

“We found the open guys and made our shots,” Casey said. “The only concerning part with the offence is our (17) turnovers. That’s huge. That’s 17 attempts you take away for shooting the ball in a five-point game. Careless passing. We put our finger in one hole and another one opens up. Nobody gets a participation trophy. Close doesn’t count.”

In other games on Sunday, Golden State Warriors beat Los Angeles Clippers 105-90, Milwaukee Bucks defeated Indiana Pacers 118-100, Memphis Grizzlies hammered Sacramento Kings 128-101, and Boston Celtics beat Toronto Raptors 109-97.