Game Preview: Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers

Essentials

Date: Nov. 17, 2009

Time: 10:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 5-5

Los Angeles: 7-3

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Rodney
Stuckey

Ben
Gordon

Jonas
Jerebko

Charlie
Villanueva

Ben
Wallace

Los Angeles:

PG SG SF PF C

 

Derek
Fisher

Kobe
Bryant

Ron
Artest

Lamar
Odom

Andrew
Bynum

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +9.5

Over/under: 191

Score: Los Angeles wins, 100-91

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 106.8 (14th)

Detroit defensive rating: 104.7 (15th)

Detroit pace: 87.4 (30th)

Los Angeles offensive rating: 104.5 (18th)

Los Angeles defensive rating: 102.5 (10th)

Los Angeles pace: 94.7 (10th)

Score: Tie, 95-94

Outlook

The Pistons begin a four-game road trip tonight (upcoming games: Trail Blazers, Jazz and Suns). This will be a tough stretch, and I’d consider winning two of the games a rousing success. Heck, winning one might be pretty good.

Injuries to Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have hurt the Pistons, and both will be out for this entire trip, according to Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News. And that could be particularly damaging this game.

Who will guard Kobe Bryant? I’m guessing Rodney Stuckey, but that puts Ben Gordon on Derek Fisher. Fisher is pretty strong, and that could mean he posts up Gordon quite a bit. There will be a difficult matchup for someone in the Detroit backcourt.

Pau Gasol and Luke Walton are out for the Lakers, so that might somewhat negate the Pistons’ injuries.

While we do a lot of Xs and Os on this site, I think tonight is really more about focus, passion and execution. The Lakers have pretty much been sleepwalking lately — maybe it’s a title hangover, maybe it’s a lot of things, it doesn’t matter what it is. The Lakers need to find their competitive edge again, Phil Jackson realizes the team needs to find that for itself, and he is letting the players find their way. Hopefully those two losses last week help speed the process. Especially because even with the injuries, the Pistons can win this game if the Lakers slack off.

Detroit plays at the slowest pace in the league, and they have the fewest assisted baskets in the league. Which is to say — welcome to 1990s isolation offense. Tonight will be about man-to-man defense and the bigs making good defensive rotations. Both things lacking against Houston.

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