The Starting Five
Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Cook, and Kwame got the nod tonight. Fisher yielded to Farmar late, had just 7 points on 12 shots. Kobe struggled offensively, but played an absolutely perfect 4th quarter to finish with 19-7-4-1 and only 2 TO. Talk about defensive effort. ODOM! He gets my game ball despite Kobe's effort. Odom had 25 points, 15 boards, including 9 offensive boards. No other player in the game had more total rebounds than Odom had offensive boards. Cook can't play a lick of D, but he hit 2/5 3pt shots and 4/4 FTs. Please come back, Turiaf. Kwame had 2 points, 6 boards, in a tough matchup against a physical and quick Center. Still, his defense was solid.
The Pine Riders
I take my hat off to Jordan Farmar 10-4-3 and 4 steals and turbo energy. He was alarmingly good and hit a big three. Bynum had 12 points, 7 boards in 21 minutes. Evans played with good intensity but he was burnt a bit by Rip Hamilton. Vlad had a nice scoring game. Walton was MIA.
What did I like?
I loved the first and fourth quarters of the game. I even liked a bit of the early 2nd quarter. I absolutely loved the way the Lakers closed, with Kobe, Odom, Farmar, Bynum all hitting on all cylinders. That was beautiful. 20 Assists vs. 9 Turnovers? Fantastic.
What did I dislike?
LA shot 38.5% including something like 28% through three quarters. Detroit blocked 7 Lakers shots. It was an ugly win where the team with more talent and heart won.
Remember that Billups and McDyess were not on the court for Detroit, but Turiaf wasn't on the court for LA either. These teams will look significantly different when next they meet. Despite the poor shooting game, LA gets the win and moves to 5-3. That trends to 51 wins.
The Lakers (4-3)
The Pistons (6-2)
1. Cover the 3
2. Unleash the Bigs
3. Bench Play
Cover the 3
Even if LA were not a poor team at covering the three, it would be important to step up against Detroit. The Pistons are shooting 38.5%, featuring probably seven players who can hit the three including four starters. LA will have to be vigilant when Detroit swings the ball.
Unleash the Bigs
I would love to see Kwame go up against Sheed, but as it is, the biggest mismatch (other than Kobe) could be Andrew Bynum. McDyess is way too small to cover Bynum. The Lakers cannot forcefeed Andrew because the Pistons' D is so good, but he should be fed whenever he is open.
The starters cannot play a full game so when Rip, Chauncey, Sheed, and Prince are on the pine, the Lakers' bench must dominate action. I think they are capable of doing that with a combination of high energy and outside shooting.