The Lakers have reached the third match-up of their 7-game road trip and are in Detroit to face the Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Lakers played a complete game in Oklahoma City that saw them lead from start to finish and speaking of finishing, ended the game with the starters on the bench, their knees wrapped in bags of ice and cheering the effort of the reserves on the floor.

The Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference but are still chasing Cleveland for the leagues best record. The Lakers face the injury-depleted Pistons at just the right time; this is a must-win game for them because the team hasn’t won in this city for seven years. Detroit has won 9 straight games against the purple and gold.

The Lakers have been led by Kobe and Pau Gasol all season; Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza have all played the role of the thrid scorer for various games.

The Lakers reserves have played less than stellar all season and have had to hear about it from the fans and media but are in the process of making a comeback and having a bit of a resurgence at the right time. Their depth has been on display during the last five games, a streak that needs to continue.

This is the second time this season facing the Pistons, on 11/14/2008 the Lakers lost 106-95.  In that game Los Angeles couldn’t slow the tandem of A.I. & Rasheed Wallace who both scored 25 points with ‘sheed adding 13 boards. It was the Lakers first loss of the season, Kobe scored 29 points but went 12-for-30 from the floor. Until that game the Lakers were holding opponents to a league-low 86.7 points per game that number has increased by 13.7 points. Defensively is where this game will be won or lost.

Detroit is a wounded team that has recently dropped four of their last five games. The Lakers need to win this game and go undefeated on this road trip to make a statement with their play that says loud and clear that this team is ready for the playoffs.

The Lakers defense will focus on slowing Tayshaun Prince and Will Bynum. Offensively, continue to attack the basket and get them in foul trouble. I want to see excellent player movement and excellent ball movement. The Lakers need to get an early lead to take the crowd out of the game, control the boards, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters.

Tipoff: 4:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Detroit: FS Detroit (George Blaha & Greg Kelser)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Detroit: WDFH 1130AM ( Mark Champion & Rick Mahorn)

Injuries -

  • Lakers:
  • Andrew Bynum (Knee)
  • Pistons:
  • Allen Iverson (Back)