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Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 121-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons

It’s too soon to draw any dramatic conclusions about the Lakers’ new starting lineup. That lineup has now played two games with wildly different results. 

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 121-102 loss to Detroit on Wednesday night.

1. D’Angelo Russell struggled tremendously. Monday night’s game wasn’t Russell’s best, either, but on Wednesday he only took two shots and made one of them. He contributed five assists and three turnovers. “Trying to make the right play offensively,” Russell said. “Didn’t allow me to make the shots I usually take. That’s it.” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said Russell looked tired to him during the game and at shoot around. “You’ve got to play through that, it’s the NBA,” Walton said. “There’s lot of games, I get it. There’s long road trips. But you have to find a way to fight through that.”

2. Tarik Black’s size wasn’t something that concerned the Lakers too much heading into Wednesday night’s game. Because of Black’s athleticism and his understanding of how to play pick and rolls, Walton felt confident in the player heading into the game. “He really does a good job of sniffing out when he needs to be up and aggressive on a point guard, and when is the appropriate time to get back to the big, which is just as important as his athleticism is,” Walton said. Black ended up having a tough night against Pistons center Andre Drummond, but this is something to keep an eye on as this starting lineup logs more time.

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3. There was a lot of talk about putting in more sustained effort after the loss. Larry Nance Jr. said the Lakers put in 10 minutes of effort instead of 48. Julius Randle said that’s what was missing from the game. Walton has said in the past that it’s difficult for any team, no matter how talented, to always be energetic throughout the game. He knows this team isn’t at the level yet where it can overcome lapses.

4. Numbers can be deceiving, unless you look at the right ones. Although the Lakers made eight of their first 10 shots, they were still lucky in the first quarter that the Pistons were struggling in transition. The Lakers had eight first-quarter turnovers that led to only two Pistons points. All that changed later in the game was that Detroit did a better job of capitalizing.

5. Adding to the Lakers’ problems last night were shooting struggles from their guards. Nick Young, Jordan Clarkson, Russell and Lou Williams went a combined 11 of 31 from the field, though Williams was still able to contribute 17 points. Williams was especially effective at drawing fouls. He shot nine free throws. 

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tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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