The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Detroit Pistons, who are in the midst of a playoff push of, with LeBron James sitting in the second night of a back-to-back due to load management.
The Pistons currently sit at seventh in the Eastern Conference, and are just a half-game back of the Brooklyn Nets for the six seed. Due to the gaps between teams in the lower half if the East, the Pistons are basically locked in to the six/seven slot.
Prior to the game, it was officially announced that James would be sitting, which had previously been alluded to as a possibility. Tyson Chandler is also out because of neck stiffness.
Meanwhile, Josh Hart (tendinitis) is questionable, and Reggie Bullock (foot contusion) and Lance Stephenson (toe sprain) are probable.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke about Hart playing through this injury, explaining that the fact that it can’t get worse is the reason they’re allowing him to continue forward.
The Pistons, on the other hand, look to be completely healthy, with Reggie Jackson and Bruce Brown both probable. Blake Griffin is having a career season and has managed to stay healthy, something that has plagued him in years past.
Griffin is averaging a career-high 24.9 points per game, with 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists to go along with it. Part of the reason for Griffin’s great season is his career high in three-point percentage, shooting 36.1 percent. Nearing age 30, Griffin chose the perfect time to implement a three pointer into his game.
For the Lakers, with James out, much of the production should come from youngsters and G League players. Alex Caruso has been great since starting to get consistent minutes, including a career-high 16 points in Thursday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Moe Wagner, Johnathan Williams and Andre Ingram should all see the floor, even as Hart continues to play through knee tendinitis.
The Lakers, for the last 14 games of the year, get to play spoiler for teams like the Pistons. We’ll see if they use that as a badge of honor, or if they crumble with James out of the lineup.
Los Angeles Lakers (31-37) vs. Detroit Pistons (34-33)
4:00 P.M. PT, Mar. 15, 2019
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Alex Caruso
SG: Reggie Bullock
SF: Josh Hart
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Moe Wagner
Projected Pistons Starting Lineup:
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Wayne Ellington
SF: Bruce Brown
PF: Blake Griffin
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: Langston Galloway, Thon Maker, Luke Kennard, Ish Smith