Preview: Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons

Lakers look to end a five-game losing streak as the Detroit Pistons visit Staples Center

The Lakers (16-46) have dropped five in a row, but they'll face a team with an even longer losing streak on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

The Detroit Pistons (23-29) have rapidly begun to drop out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, now five games behind the seventh-place Charlotte Hornets and eighth-place Indiana Pacers, both at 28-34.

If the Pistons are going to make one final push, they need to start collecting wins quickly.

They'll play without Brandon Jennings (Achilles), out for the year.  Center Joel Anthony (groin) is also questionable.

For the Lakers, Nick Young is out with a knee injury. Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are done for the season.

Key matchup

After Jennings went down with his torn Achilles, the Pistons traded for Reggie Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Gone are role players D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko, while Jackson has struggled to be an efficient scorer in Detroit.

Through seven appearances, Jackson is averaging 17.1 points and 7.3 assists a game, but he's shooting only 37.7% from the field and 28% from three-point range. Jackson is also turning the ball over three times a night on average.

If the Pistons are going to get back into the playoff chase, they'll need more from Jackson.

Meanwhile, rookie Jordan Clarkson has been steady for the Lakers through 19 starts, averaging 14.4 points and 4.4 assists a game, while shooting 45.6% from the field and 30.9% from three-point range. Clarkson is also at 1.9 turnovers a game as a starter.

X-factor

The Pistons start two true bigs in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

Monroe is averaging 15.8 points and 10.6 rebounds a game.  Drummond is at 13 and 13, respectively.

Drummond's biggest weakness is at the free-throw line, where he's shooting just 39.2%.

The Lakers tend to compete well against size, with Jordan Hill and Tarik Black in the starting lineup, backed up by Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.

Outlook

The Lakers have a real shot to get the win on Tuesday, but given the stakes the Pistons are fighting for, put the road team down for the victory.

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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