Preview: Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons

Pistons Coach Maurice Cheeks talks to point guard Brandon Jennings in a game this season.
(Duane Burleson / Associated Press)

The Lakers (4-7) host the Detroit Pistons (3-5) on Sunday night at Staples Center.

The Pistons are one of five teams in the Eastern Conference scoring more than 100 points a game (100.5). Defensively, the Pistons are a bit shakier, giving up 102.5 a game.

Of course, the Lakers are worse in both categories, scoring 98.1 points while yielding 104.3 a game.

After losing four of five, the Lakers have an opportunity to get their fifth win in 12 tries.

Key matchup


The Pistons have a number of offensive weapons, notably Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, but center Andre Drummond has been a presence on both sides of the ball for the Pistons.

Averaging 12 points, 12 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.8 steals a game, Drummond might be Detroit’s best chance against the Lakers’ big men (Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman).

Drummond is shooting 64.4% from the field but he’s struggled at the line at just 20% (2 of 10).

Hill has helped carry the Lakers the last three games after his recent promotion to the starting lineup.

Even if Hill can get Drummond into foul trouble, the Pistons can easily slide Monroe to center and Smith to power forward.


Point guard Brandon Jennings is a high-volume scorer, averaging 17.5 points and 6.2 assists a game. He’s not especially efficient, shooting only 38.6% from the field and 25.8% from long range.

The Lakers have enough to worry about with Detroit’s size. Guards like Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar need to prevent Jennings -- along with Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and even veteran Chauncey Billups -- from having big nights.

Meeks has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers this season. On Friday, in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Meeks led the Lakers with 25 points on only 16 shots.

Until Kobe Bryant returns from his left Achilles’ tendon injury, the Lakers are going to have to find ways to get wins. If Meeks can stay hot, the Lakers have a much better shot at beating the Pistons.


The Pistons are tall and athletic on the inside. Their guards and bigs generate steals.

The Lakers are worn down after a very busy schedule to start the season. Bryant practiced with the team on Saturday for the first time since his Achilles’ tendon injury in April.

Help may be on the way but can the Lakers stay afloat?

A win over the Pistons would inch the team closer to .500 before four badly needed days of rest.

Detroit will be a difficult matchup, but it’s a game the Lakers should be able to take at home.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.