"I thought we were good," Griffin told reporters. "Defensively, we were scrambling around. We were making the extra pass" on offense.
The Pistons held a 34-31 edge in the first quarter, despite 14 points from James in the frame. The Lakers then outscored the Pistons 27-22 in the second quarter to take a 58-56 lead at halftime.
Griffin then scored 11 points in the third quarter to help the Pistons earn an 82-78 lead going into the fourth frame. The Pistons forward continued his hot streak down the stretch.
Griffin hit a 3-pointer with 6:54 remaining to spark a 17-0 Pistons run. The Lakers didn't score for nearly seven minutes during that run.
James did not score and the Lakers had just two points over the final 12 minutes. The four-time NBA MVP had 10 assists and seven rebounds, in addition to his 22 points. Kuzma had 10 rebounds and seven assists.
"I think Detroit played extremely well," James said. "We didn't play well. Our legs got [tired] on the second night of back-to-back games and that was the result of it."
The Pistons (5-14) battle the Golden State Warriors at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday at Chase Center in San Francisco. The Lakers (14-6) face the Boston Celtics at 8:30 p.m. EST on Saturday at TD Garden in Boston.