After a five-game road trip that saw them go 1-4, the Los Angeles Lakers have returned home for a Sunday evening bout against the Detroit Pistons, who are looking to finish up their six-game West coast swing on a positive note.
After losing to the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers Saturday afternoon, the Pistons are looking to end a three-game losing streak. Despite completely controlling the first three quarters, Detroit was unable to contain Jamal Crawford who exploded for a season-high 37 points, eight assists, and six rebounds, while Blake Griffin flirted with a triple-double, scoring 34 points, nabbing eight boards, and dishing out nine assists.
Andre Drummond, who has had an astronomical start to the season, recorded his ninth double-double in as many games, putting up 18 points and 19 rebounds. Reggie Jackson and Ersan Ilyasova, however, led the way with 20 points apiece.
After a hot 5-1 start to the season, the Pistons have cooled down during this road trip but have an excellent opportunity to bounce back against the slumping Lakers, who are on a four-game losing streak of their own.
Los Angeles concluded its road trip in Dallas Friday night when they lost to the Mavericks, 90-82. It was a close battle throughout, but costly turnovers and poor late-game execution sealed the Lakers’ fate.
Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 21 points in Dallas to go along with four rebounds and three steals, while Kobe Bryant made his return from minor back pain to score 19 points.
Rebounding is going to be vital for the Lakers going up against the Pistons. Drummond has been a man amongst boys when it comes to rebounding, averaging an implausible 19.2 rebounds per contest through nine games. Therefore, the Lakers frontcourt will need to put a body on Detroit’s 22-year-old big man to keep him off the glass.
Turnovers were a major issue on the road, and that is another area Los Angeles will need to clean up coming back home. However, it is typical of a young team to become turnover prone on the road, so expect those numbers to be lower at home.
In Friday night’s matchup against Dallas, Byron Scott tweaked his rotations again, utilizing Brandon Bass as the backup center in favor of Tarik Black. Also rookie Larry Nance Jr., who has been a pleasant surprise off the bench, only logged 11 minutes. It would be interesting to see whether Scott remains with the same rotations from Sunday or shakes things up once more.
If there is one team that the Lakers have been successful against in the past few years, it is the Pistons, as they have defeated them six consecutive times. In fact, the Lakers have beaten Detroit 11 out of the last 12 meetings, with the Pistons’ only victory coming on March 6, 2012 in overtime.
Tip-off of Sunday’s game will be at 9:30 pm Eastern Time at the STAPLES Center.