Lakers find a much smoother offense without LeBron James in Pistons win

Nov 18, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel (35) celebrates his basket scored against the Detroit Pistons with guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel (35) celebrates his basket scored against the Detroit Pistons with guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Due to a strange glitch in the NBA schedule, the Los Angeles Lakers had about a week of rest after beating the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night. Even though it was considered a chance for LeBron James to rest his abductor strain to get him ready for this contest, he has held out for this Lakers’ homecourt matchup against the Detroit Pistons.

The story of the week in Lakers Nation dealt with a team meeting that was considered a reboot on how to turn the season around. One of the significant discussions was on how Anthony Davis would get more shots, particularly in the second half when he has been known to disappear late.

After Russell Westbrook’s cryptic message about whose job it is to get AD the ball, Darvin Ham put that narrative to bed quick, fast, and in a hurry…

"“These guys are not rookies. … We have a playbook,” Ham said after a Nov. 6 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We have a menu and a bunch of sets where AD can be featured. You have to just be organized … He’s got my blessing to scream out, call his own number. We tried to get him going. … It’s not like, ‘OK, you’re just not calling plays for AD.’ That’s not the case.”"

Well, Ham wasn’t lying or got the message due to Davis’ monster performance against the Nets. In this game, AD kept right on rolling.

In a game that looked more like L.A. Fitness than a Los Angeles Lakers game, the Lake Show ran away from the Detroit Pistons 128-121. If it wasn’t for Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves and particularly Lonnie Walker IV (More on him later!), it probably would have been more fun rearranging a sock drawer, washing dishes, or moving furniture around.

Welcome back Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder who played their first game of the season after matching thumb injuries that required surgery before the season.

The good from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

Lonnie Walker IV is becoming a star before our very eyes!

This former University of Miami standout in San Antonio was known more for his funky hairstyle than his game. He never could crack Gregg Popovich’s rotation and he was held back much like Dejounte Murray was before he went to the Atlanta Hawks. Just like Murray having a breakout season with the Hawks, Walker IV is doing the same for the Los Angeles Lakers…

He finished with 17 points with 3 assists. Enjoy him while you can because teams will be lining up to make offers this offseason and does anyone believe Rob Pelinka will match?

Wenyen Gabriel played an outstanding game!

The one thing about Wenyen Gabriel that Lakers fans need to appreciate is that this guy plays hard every night usually playing against bigger players. He struggled to find his rhythm offensively, but now he is starting to slow his game down to impressive results for the Lakers. For the first time since maybe JaVale McGee, this team has a big man that doesn’t coast down the floor looking pretty for Instagram picture posts.

He finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds (3 offensive!) with solid activity that helped the Lakers get back into the game after falling down 14 points. He did not miss a shot all night long!

Kendrick Nunn (Checking notes!)…knocked down some shots! 

Sure, the Lake Show Life staff has been tough on Kendrick, but let’s be clear here. Saying he stinks would be kind based on the fact that he hasn’t scored a field goal in four of the five games! He can play and can help this team, but when he goes cold, he allows it to mess with other parts of his game. He finished with 10 points. He did not miss a shot all night long!

Did anyone notice that Anthony Davis almost fouled the entire Detroit Pistons franchise out?

You can’t find anyone that has a clue on how the NBA is played that will say that this man doesn’t have a top-five player skillset. No one in the NBA can stop this guy based on talent alone, but his aggressiveness, or lack thereof, continues to bail teams out.

This guy had the Pistons’ big men in foul trouble at the opening tip as he continued to drive the ball to the hole and let those jumpers go.

He finished with 38 points and 16 rebounds, but his will in the paint kept Detroit at bay for the most part. He put up 18-21 from the line which was the championship season dominance the Lakers signed him up for! Plus, there was an AD sighting in the scoring column for the second straight game.

The bad from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

This team turns the ball over too much…

The Los Angeles Lakers should have destroyed the Pistons. Look, they are bad and developing their young players in the plan. But Lakers turnovers got their transition game going and kept this game close.

Should we let the Patrick Beverley thing go?

More fouls than points…

The referees…

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Anthony Davis technical foul in the third quarter because he did charge into Marvin Bagley III. But it’s totally understandable why he was so frustrated. The refereeing was totally inconsistent the whole game with questionable calls. There has to be some consistency so the game won’t become choppy and unwatchable. Granted, the Lakers did adjust a lot better than the Pistons did due to the parade they had at the free throw line, but fans can get tired of games like this really quick.

The story from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:

Austin Reaves is more than a cheaper Alex Caruso clone!

At the beginning of the season, Reaves looked like a player that tried just to fit in with his more famous teammates. Now he looks like a major part of the rotation that will look for his shot along with the hustle plays he’s known for…

Reaves finished with 16 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. It will be interesting to see if this can sustain itself when LeBron comes back. Well, let’s discuss that potential problem shall we?

Could the Los Angeles Lakers be better off if LeBron James plays off the ball?

For the second straight game, the Lakers’ offense looked lively and the ball was jumping. Russell Westbrook came in again off the bench and increased the pace and made plays for his teammates (12 assists), while Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV found ways to score by getting their own shots. In short, the Lakers are playing freer and the ball is moving so the defense couldn’t catch up.

With LeBron James, the pace slows down, the offense is predictable and the offense grinds to a halt while he waits to read the defense.

  • Notice AD has gone nuts since his injury…
  • Lonnie Walker IV looks comfortable…
  • Russ is collecting assists at a rapid rate…
  • Austin Reaves will look at the basket…
  • All told, the Los Angeles Lakers are shooting better…