After what was probably the craziest game of the season, the Lakers are going to end this excruciating road trip at Detroit.
This is a rematch from Nov. 18 when the Lakers beat them at Crypto.com Arena. At the time, it seemed like a strange game because they were the two bottom offenses in the league and it turned out to be a really high-scoring game. Lakers and Pistons are still in the bottom ten offenses in the league but both teams have risen to 23rd and 26th, respectively, since then.
Their first game was around the time Anthony Davis was finding his superstar powers. He scored 38 points (then a season high), grabbed 16 boards, and blocked four shots. He also scored the last 12 Laker points and went to the line a whopping 21 times. In a word, he was dominant.
We also saw the Laker re-debuts of Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant, who have since been key rotation players for the team. Austin Reaves had 17 points while Lonnie Walker IV had some electrifying plays in his 16-point performance. And Russell Westbrook got the team energized whenever he was in; he had 12 dimes. The Lakers moved the ball much better than in previous games although they also were a tad careless, turning the ball over 16 times. LeBron James sat out this game with a foot injury.
What was not pretty was that both teams went to the line for a combined 72 free throws. We might get that again. Detroit still leads the league in free throw attempts and the Lakers are right behind at third. We might be in for a long game again.
I’ve talked about the youth of the Pistons in the first match-up’s preview. It’s unfortunate that Cade Cunningham hasn’t played in a month due to a shin injury. There is currently no timetable for his return. Veteran Bojan Bogdonavic continues to lead the Pistons in scoring with 20.3 points per. Alec Burks came off the bench to score 23 points in their previous match-up with L.A. It was also unfortunate Saddiq Bey left the game with an injured ankle; he’s one of the better young players on the team. He’s good to go for this game, though. And Pistons hope for a better outing from Jaden Ivey (5 for 18, .278 against the Lakers).
It’s imperative that the Lakers get off to a good start and find ways to get the rock to Davis early. Obviously, they didn’t have all hands on deck against Toronto and Davis left early against Cleveland. But they were down big against Philly and Davis only scored 10 points in the first three quarters. They need to jump on this team and put them away early if they can. The Pistons are still in a rebuilding phase and not good at the moment so the Lakers should take advantage.
The 10-15 Lakers have lost three straight but are hoping to end the road trip on a good note. As for the 7-21 Pistons, they’re 2-6 in their last 8 games. This ain’t Magic Johnson versus Isiah Thomas. It’s not even Shaquille O’Neal versus Ben Wallace. But L.A. is hoping that Anthony Davis versus Bojan Bogdanovic (work with me here, guys) turns out to have a better result so they can finish this trip at .500.