It is March 6, 2012 and the (23-14) Los Angeles Lakers start a three-game road trip in the largest city in the state of Michigan, Detroit, on a cold 40-degree day that feels like 30 due to 23-34 mph winds to match up with the (12-26) Pistons. The Lakers have won eight of their last 10 games and are coming off a signature win against the Miami Heat.
Kobe Bryant set the tone doing most of his damage early with Dwayne Wade guarding him scoring 18 first-half points while burying D. Wade in the post. Head Coach Mike Brown preaching defense has paid off, on Sunday, the Lakers held the Heat to just 37.5% from the field.
However, the Lakers do not place this game in the win column without a solid stat-sheet stuffing 17-point, 7-rebound, 3-assist, 4-steal and one block effort by Metta World Peace. Peace’s play offensively has been inconsistent, but on Sunday showed that if L.A. can get more production from the point guard or small forward positions in the starting lineup, they’re a much better team.Since Bryant had his nose broken in the All-Star game, the masked mamba has scored 31, 33 and 38 points in his last three games.
The Lakers are an impressive 17-2 at home, but 6-12 on the road. There is no need to mince words or sugarcoat the obvious; the Pistons are a bad team that L.A. needs to impose their will on early. There is a good chance that in time Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight could become the foundation of the Pistons franchise.
The Lakers have swept the season series (2-0) against the Pistons the last two years and have won five straight against Detroit. The Pistons are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 overall contests against Detroit. The Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 games overall in Detroit, but have won their last three games at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Lakers need to establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post and pound the Pistons on the inside. Due to their size advantage tonight the Lakers should make it a point that Bynum & Gasol both take 20 shots apiece, the Lakers could ride their big players to victory. It is imperative that the Lakers win this game on defense.
The Lakers need to avoid underestimating the Pistons, communicate on defense, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, do a good job defending the pick-and-roll play, get back in transition, control the tempo, control the boards, quickly rotate out to open shooters and limit the Pistons to one shot per possession.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Peace, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Pistons: B. Knight, R. Stuckey, T. Prince, J. Maxiell, G. Monroe
Tip-off: 4:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
- Detroit: FS Detroit (George Blaha & Greg Kelser )
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
- Detroit: 97.1 FM (Mark Champion & Rick Mahorn)
- Steve Blake (Costochaondral fracture) Probable
- Kobe Bryant (Nasal Fracture) Probable
- Charlie Villanueva (Sprained Ankle) Out
- Ben Gordon (Sprained Ankle) Day-to-Day