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Preview: Lakers at Detroit Pistons

The Lakers (8-8) are to finish a three-game road trip on Friday against the Detroit Pistons (6-9).

The Pistons gave the Lakers some early trouble before the Lakers pulled away with a big second half in a meeting on Nov. 17 at Staples Center.

Detroit has true size in center Andre Drummond, forward-center Greg Monroe and power forward Josh Smith, but the Pistons' guards aren't especially efficient and the team lacks depth.

Key matchup

Drummond had 14 points and 13 rebounds against the Lakers in their first meeting. He also blocked a shot and collected two steals.

The Pistons have a number of players who can score, particularly point guard Brandon Jennings, shooting guard Rodney Stuckey, Monroe and Smith, but the team needs Drummond to be a defensive force.

Jordan Hill had a career night against the Pistons with 24 points and 17 rebounds. The Lakers could use another big game from Hill to counter Detroit's size.

X-factor

Against the Lakers, Jennings, who had 14 assists, and Stuckey scored 23 and 16 points, respectively. The pair shot 42.1% from the field.

The Lakers need to make sure the Pistons are inefficient in their backcourt.

Steve Blake has been a consistent playmaker for the Lakers since taking over at the point for injured Steve Nash (back).

Reserve guard Jordan Farmar has provided the Lakers a recent offensive spark off the bench, both as a passer and scorer.

Outlook

The Lakers have won only two games on the road this season.

They've beaten the Pistons at home but the challenge will be greater in Detroit.

The Pistons aren't a dominant team but they're tall, long, athletic and a real threat to knock the Lakers back below .500.

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

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