DETROIT (AP) — Andre Drummond had 19 points and 23 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of LeBron James’ absence, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 111-97 on Friday night.
The Lakers, who have fallen well off the pace in the Western Conference playoff race, have been managing James’ minutes, and he sat out this game entirely. Los Angeles played at Toronto the previous night.
The Lakers were also without Lonzo Ball (left ankle), Tyson Chandler (neck), Brandon Ingram (right arm) and Lance Stephenson (toe), but they trailed by only four in the third quarter before Detroit went on a 13-0 run to make it 73-56. Reggie Jackson started that stretch with two 3-pointers and a jumper.
The Pistons were coming off losses of 28 and 34 points to the Nets and Heat, but the win Friday put Detroit percentage points ahead of Brooklyn for the No. 6 spot in the East. Langston Galloway scored 23 points and Jackson had 20 for the Pistons.
STILL THE STAR
James hadn’t missed an entire game since Feb. 2. He didn’t suit up for this one, but there was certainly a buzz among the fans behind one of the baskets when he emerged around the midway point of the first quarter and walked over to the bench to join his team. He went back toward the locker room at the start of the fourth.
Lakers: Rajon Rondo had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Pistons: Drummond is four rebounds away from posting a sixth straight season with at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Only seven players have accomplished that: Wilt Chamberlain (10 years), Bill Russell (10), Bob Pettit (nine), Elvin Hayes (seven), Walt Bellamy (six), Dwight Howard (six) and Jerry Lucas (six).
Lakers: Visit the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Pistons: Host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.