The (1-8) Los Angeles Lakers, fifth-place in the Pacific Division, nine-games out of first place, seeking to snap a four-game losing skid, return to the Staples Center after a five-game road trip to play host to the (5-4) Detroit Pistons.
The Lakers road trip was a unique blend of the usual suspects; the positive (improved defense), the negative (awareness of what the opponent wants to do), and the egregious (failure to consistently box out their men and rebound). Likewise the lack of execution, as well as wasted opportunities, also a failure to consistently attack the basket or finish games, in conclusion some optimism in addition to a healthy dose of frustration.
Despite a 1-4 record and dropping at least three winnable games on their road trip, on a positive note, the purple and gold held all five opponents under 105 points. Los Angeles has won three straight season series against Detroit. Besides the Lakers have tasted victory in 12 of their last 15 games against the Pistons dating back to 11/16/07.
The Lakers are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Pistons and 12-3 all-time at the Staples Center against Detroit. The Pistons, riding a three-game losing skid, after a hot start, winning five of their first six games of the season looking to end their six-game west coast swing firing on all cylinders. Offensively, Detroit ranks 23rd in scoring 97.9 points per game, defensively the Pistons rank seventh in the NBA allowing 97.2 points per game.
The Los Angeles Lakers scoring average has dropped; the purple and gold fell from a rank of fourth in the NBA to now rank 20th at 99.4 points per game. Defensively, the Lakers rank 26th allowing 106.2 points per game. Tonight’s Sunday night affair will come down to two things; defense and rebounding.
The two Pistons, instrumental in Detroit’s hot start, center Andre Drummond, who has really asserted himself, averaging 18.7 points per game, an amazing 19.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocked shots while shooting 52.6-percent from the field also point guard Reggie Jackson. Jackson; the former OKC Thunder guard, for example, averaging 21.7 points per game as well as averaging 5.2 assists per game. Drummond has his sights on his 10th straight double-double.
The Detroit Pistons, seeking to snap their losing streak to the Lakers, are the second-best rebounding team in the averaging an impressive 48.2 boards a game. Finally, the Los Angeles Lakers are a jump shooting team and a few fundamental things need addressing for the team to change the narrative. The old adage “live by the jumper, chances are you will die by the jumper” still rings true. In time, the lack of said jumper consistently falling.
Offensively, the Lakers need to establish Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle, Metta World Peace, Brandon Bass etc. in the post and then get the ball to them in the painted area where the players can start their attack closer to the basket. It is imperative that the purple and gold play aggressive on both ends of the court, the guards must get into the paint, attack the basket or drive and kick.
It is a necessity that Head coach Byron Scott and staff convey the message of the importance of every possession. Moreover, it is necessary for the Lakers to specific goals to accomplish per quarter furthermore design more plays going to the basket in hopes of either scoring or making a trip to the free throw line. The purple and gold need to execute on offense, turn the corner more on pick-and-roll plays and get to the basket, a lot more ball movement and player movement, the ball needs to move from side to side to force the defense to work, way too many times the Lakers appear to run a motion offense with no motion only to attempt a challenged shot at the end of the shot clock.
Defensively, for any success, the Lakers need to get back in transition, stop the ball, stop the penetration of the guards, box their men out and rebound, challenge every shot and immediately rotate out to open shooters.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Pistons: R. Jackson, K. Caldwell-Pope, E. Ilysova, M. Morris, A. Drummond
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Detroit: Fox Sports Detroit (George Blaha & Greg Kelser)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Detroit : WMGC 105.1 (Mark Champion & Rick Mahorn)
• Brandon Jennings (Achilles) Out