Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 113-100 on Wednesday night to improve to 3-5 without injured LeBron James.
Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls. He left with 1:07 to play and put a wrap around his midsection with a pack stuffed in the back.
The second-year forward had scoring runs of 10 and six points in the quarter, when the Lakers led by 16.
The Pistons never got within single digits in the fourth as they were outscored 34-23.
Michael Beasley picked up where Kuzma left off, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the fourth on his 30th birthday. His scoring touch had James and other players on the bench on their feet.
Detroit’s Blake Griffin, averaging a career-high 25.3 points, was held to 16 points and no rebounds. Andre Drummond had 17 rebounds and Reggie Jackson added 15 points for the Pistons, who have lost three in a row and six of seven.
The Lakers took the lead for good in the second during a 20-7 spurt that pushed their lead to 13. Lonzo Ball’s bounce pass in the paint to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got it going. Ball hit a 3-pointer and Kuzma had five points before James came on the court to cheer his teammates during a timeout.
Pistons: F Zaza Pachulia (bruised right lower leg) sat out.
Lakers: James (left groin strain) is set to be re-evaluated Friday and won’t travel with the team for its game in Utah. … Rajon Rondo (right ring finger surgery) has also missed eight games. … The Lakers had a 72-44 edge in the paint.
Pistons: Visit Sacramento on Thursday in the second game of a back-to-back before returning to LA to face the Clippers on Saturday.
Lakers: At Utah on Friday.
Source: The Associated Press