The last time the Los Angeles Lakers played the Detroit Pistons, LeBron James hit Isaiah Stewart in the face and sparked a fracas that earned both players ejections and suspensions. There were no fireworks when they met again on Sunday night as LeBron and Co. held off the Pistons’ late comeback attempt for a 110-106 win.
While there are no must-win games in November, this one did feel important for the Lakers after they blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter before losing in triple-overtime to the lowly Sacramento Kings in their last time out. It would have been nice to come out, take care of business and wash the taste of that previous defeat out of their mouths.
Instead, they nearly collapsed again, as their 19-point lead was whittled down to six with two minutes to play. This time they had a big enough head start that they were able to withstand the Pistons’ run and come away with the win. But needing LeBron to play 37 minutes and put together a throwback performance just to sneak past the Pistons at home isn’t exactly inspiring or a sign that they’re back on the right track.
LeBron finished with 33 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals on 12 of 20 from the field. And in the fourth quarter he either scored or assisted on 12 of their 26 points, including a nice pass to Anthony Davis with two minutes left for an and-one that effectively sealed the game. But even though he played well, it wasn’t a perfect night for LeBron either.
With just under five minutes to play, LeBron missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but Russell Westbrook was able to secure the offensive rebound. LeBron then cut to the basket, took the pass from Westbrook and finished through contact. It didn’t seem like a super tough hit, but LeBron grimaced as he came up the floor, and was limping and grabbing at his side.
He seemed to be bothered by the issue for the rest of the game, and afterwards acknowledged that he had tweaked his abdominal injury.
“Yeah I’ll be alright,” LeBron said during his walk-off interview. “I’m still working through it. It’s my third game back since the injury. Every game it’s getting better and better, but every now and then I feel it a little bit down there. It didn’t linger too much, so that’s a good thing.”
Thankfully it doesn’t seem like it should keep him out of the lineup. Later on, LeBron said during his press conference that he will be “ready to go” for the Lakers’ next game against the Kings on Tuesday night. That’s good news for the Lakers, who were just without LeBron for nearly three weeks and went 3-5 in his absence.