The Los Angeles Lakers (1-8) return home to Staples Center after going 1-4 on their road trip that ended with a 90-82 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. The Lakers got off to a great start, but the offense sputtered in the second and third quarters. By the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late for the purple and gold.
Despite the loss, the Lakers squad seems optimistic that they are starting to figure out how to win these close games down the stretch. Los Angeles also held the Mavericks to just 90 points, the least amount of points they’ve given up all season. They at least seem to be working the kinks out on the defensive end, but now they just need to balance it out with efficiency on offense.
The Lakers now prepare for a one-game home stand versus the Detroit Pistons (5-4). The Pistons are currently coming off a 101-96 loss to the Clippers and will be looking to end their six-game road trip on a high note.
Headlining the Pistons frontcourt is the fourth-year man out of UConn, Andre Drummond. The seven-footer is putting up huge numbers so far this year, averaging 18 points and 19 rebounds. It is no surprise that Drummond is by far the league’s leading rebounder, and is capable of giving both himself and his team plenty of second-chance opportunities. Drummond made waves earlier this year for declining his contract extension with the Pistons, leaving many to wonder if he’s waiting to test the free agency market after the season Whatever the case may be, Drummond is certainly making his case for a guaranteed max offer sheet.
Alongside Drummond is veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova spent seven years with the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the Pistons before the season. He’s averaged seven points and three rebounds so far this year. Rounding out the frontcourt is Marcus Morris. The sixth-year Kansas kid is having himself a stellar year so far, averaging a career-high 16 points to go along with six rebounds per game. The Pistons acquired Morris from the Phoenix Suns prior to this year in exchange for a second-round pick in 2020. Drummond, Ilyasova and Morris make up an extremely athletic frontcourt capable of pushing the ball up and down the court.
The Detroit Pistons were looking to make a splash in the offseason after losing Greg Monroe to free agency. They did exactly that by re-signing Reggie Jackson to a massive 5-year, $80-million deal. He has been worth every penny since leaving Oklahoma City for the Motor City, averaging 21 points and five rebounds per game.
Pairing with Jackson in the backcourt is the third-year guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope was selected out of Georgia with the eight overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He has certainly come into his own this year and adds depth to the Pistons’ balanced offensive attack. Caldwell-Pope is currently averaging 14 points and three rebounds per game.
Keys To Victory:
Limiting Turnovers: The Lakers ended their 1-4 road series with a season-high 22 turnovers in Dallas Friday night. Anytime you give up that many turnovers, it is unlikely that the game was ever close at one point. However, despite all the turnovers, the Lakers still found themselves in a position to win towards the end of the game. That won’t always be the case with other teams and Los Angeles will need to take better care of the ball if they want to finish out the close games that have avoided them thus far.
Keep the Defensive Mindset:
In light of the recent struggles, one thing the Lakers certainly seem to be improving on is team defense. The Lakers gave up their lowest point total to an opposing team this year against Dallas. Although it is not too substantial, if Los Angeles can continue to improve on defense, than hopefully that will equate to more scoring opportunities on offense.
Points Off the Bench:
The Lakers struggled tremendously without help from the bench in their loss to Dallas. The Mavericks bench outscored the Lakers bench 33-19. Of course, the Lakers were without Marcelo Huertas, Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black, but their two main guys in Lou Williams and Nick Young both had off nights. When the offense begins to go stagnant in the second and third quarters like they did Friday, they need the spark off the bench to ignite the scoring.
Detroit Pistons (5-4) at Los Angeles Lakers (1-8)
6:30 PM PST, November 16, 2015
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/1330 (Spanish)
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, SF: Nick Young, PF: Larry Nance Jr.
Pistons Starting Lineup
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Marcus Morris
PF: Ersan Ilyasova
C: Anre Drummond
Key Reserves: C: Aron Baynes, PG: Steve Blake, SF: Stanley Johnson