The Kobe Bryant farewell tour will make a stop at The Palace of Auburn Hills as the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Detroit Pistons. Kobe has the unfortunate memory of losing in Detroit in the 2004 NBA Finals, but in the years after, he has had plenty of great performances since.
One of the three victories this season came against the Pistons on Nov. 15 at Staples Center. The Pistons have a winning record and arguably the best big man in the NBA in Greg Monroe. The Lakers lost to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, and a victory would give them two wins out of four games so far on the road trip.
Andre Drummond has been the most impressive center in the NBA this season, averaging 19 points and 17 rebounds. The Lakers did a decent job containing him in their first matchup, but the big man still managed to score 17 points and grab 17 boards. Hibbert and Randle will have to focus on keeping him off this glass, which is not an easy task to say the least.
Ersan Ilyasova is another player who can hurt the Lakers if they neglect him on the perimeter. Ilyasova is a great three-point shooter who makes 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The Lakers will have to rotate defensively when the Pistons guards penetrate the lane, and make sure they close out hard on Ilyasova so he does not get good look.
The starting point guard for the Pistons is Reggie Jackson, who has played really well during the Pistons current three game winning streak. Jackson is averaging 20 points, but he has scored over 30 points in two of the past three games. The point guard has the hot hand, so D’Angelo Russell will have his hands full all night as he will try to keep Jackson in check.
Starting alongside Jackson at shooting guard is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope has struggled this season, but the Lakers still cannot lose track of him. The second-year guard out of Georgia slashed well to the basket, and can finish at the rim with his athleticism. Although he has had a rough year from the field, Caldwell-Pope still poses a threat to the Lakers.
Keys to Victory:
Box Out Andre Drummond: The Lakers were able to beat the Pistons in their first game because they focused in on boxing out Andre Drummond. The Lakers bigs did a tremendous job keeping Drummond off the glass, but he still managed to grab 17 rebounds. This speaks to how great of a rebounder Drummond has become, but the Lakers still executed their game plan in the first game and will have to make a similar effort if they want to win tonight.
Play Through Russell: D’Angelo Russell is coming off of his first career double-double, and the rookie’s confidence in sky high. Russell had arguably the most impressive game of his career, but lost in the shuffle were his seven turnovers. Coach Byron Scott should still allow Russell to run the show offensively, but he will need to take better care of the basketball in order to secure a victory.
Shooting Percentage: The Lakers have had a horrible shooting year and they are not good enough defensively to make up for poor shooting. In their loss to the Hawks, the Lakers shot a miserable 37 percent from the field. The Lakers are not taking all bad shots, they are just not knocking them down. In order for the Lakers to beat this streaking Pistons team, they will need to shoot better from the field.
Los Angeles Lakers (3-16) Vs. Detroit Pistons (11-9)
3:00 PM PST, December 6, 2015
Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Pistons Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Marcus Morris
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: PG: Steve Blake, SF: Stanley Johnson, C: Aron Baynes
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: SG: Lou Williams, PF: Brandon Bass, PF: Larry Nance. Jr