What’s up with the LA Lakers?
Say what you want about the Lakers, but they’re one of the most entertaining teams in the league. They alternate between playing like a championship contender and a lottery team — sometimes all in the same game!
Take their last game against the Philadelphia 76ers as an example. They looked like a playoff team in the first half, keeping in step with the Sixers even with Anthony Davis limited by foul trouble. Then LA let Philly build a 16-point lead which looked insurmountable with how bad they were playing.
Things looked impossible when they were down by nine with 28 seconds left in the game. But in true Laker fashion, they found a way to make things interesting by storming back to tie the game at 120. They got big stops and hit big shots to force OT.
That was LA’s last stand in the game. They bombed in OT, spoiling a prime chance to get a big win that would have snapped a two-game losing streak.
There are still some positives to take away from that game. Even saddled with foul trouble, Davis was still able to dominate, putting up a 31-12 line with two steals and two blocks. The Lakers are figuring things out with Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker, and Russell Westbrook all filling their roles well. The question now is can they figure things out before they run out of games this season?
What’s up with the Detroit Pistons?
The Zombie Pistons are the worst team in the NBA. Granted not much was expected of them, but without Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey for a good chunk of the season, as well as key players in and out of the rotation, all hopes for competitiveness went out the window. Because of that, Detroit only has seven wins in their 28 outings so far.
The Pistons are on a two-game skid, losing to two playoff teams in the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. They’re not putting up much of a fight with their young second-stringers taking on bigger roles too soon.
Even though they’re at the bottom of the standings, the Pistons can still pull off surprises, especially against underperforming teams. Their two most recent wins came against two playoff teams last season, the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. In both games, Bojan Bogdanovic came up big with 30-point outings (30 against the Mavs, 31 against the Heat).
If the Lakers—another underperforming team—aren’t careful, they can fall to Bogdanovic and the Pistons.
Storyline to watch out for
Davis playing well against the Pistons’ frontline won’t be news. The bigger storyline to watch out for is how LeBron James fares against Detroit.
James missed the game against the Toronto Raptors with ankle soreness. At his advanced age, it’s taking some time for him to shake off injuries.
It will be an encouraging sign for the Lakers if LeBron can dominate against the Pistons. They need a big performance from him to not only end their losing streak but also to show the team that their leader is still just as dominant as before.
This road trip has been a mixed bag for the Lakers. They got a big win over the Bucks but followed that up with three straight losses.
After taking another couple of steps back, the Lakers can take one step forward by taking care of business against the Pistons.
Where to watch
You can catch the Lakers try to bounce back against the Pistons, live at 7:00 AM via NBA League Pass.