Los Angeles Lakers (23-19) @ Detroit Pistons (36-5)
Sunday, January 29th
6:30 PM EST
Warriors @ Lakers 106-105 OT (WIN) Box Score
Grizzlies @ Pistons 95-89 (WIN) Box Score
Projected Starting Five
Coach Phil Jackson
C - Chris Mihm (10.3 PPG on 51% shooting, 6.7 RPG, 0.9 APG)
PF - Kwame Brown (6.1 PPG on 47% shooting, 6.0 RPG, 0.9 APG)
SF - Lamar Odom (14.3 PPG on 46% shooting, 9.4 RPG, 5.5 APG)
SG - Kobe Bryant (35.8 PPG on 45% shooting, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG)
PG - Smush Parker (11.6 PPG on 46% shooting, 3.1 RPG, 3.1 APG)
Coach Flip Saunders
C - Ben Wallace (8.2 PPG on 50% shooting, 12.4 RPG, 2.0 APG)
PF - Rasheed Wallace (15.1 PPG on 45% shooting, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG)
SF - Tayshaun Prince (14.2 PPG on 45% shooting, 4.5 RPG, 2.3 APG)
SG - Richard Hamilton (21.7 PPG on 51% shooting, 3.3 RPG, 3.3 APG)
PG - Chauncey Billups (19.5 PPG on 43% shooting, 3.2 RPG, 8.6 APG)
Predicted Stats: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Predicted Stats: 10 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists
Who Got Game?
Predicted Stats: 36 points on 46% shooting, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Predicted Stats: 28 points on 49% shooting, 3 rebounds, 9 assists
Tale of the Tape
Lakers 0, Pistons 0
Last 10 games:
Lakers 7-3, Pistons 10-0
Lakers 3rd, Pistons 1st
Lakers 7th seed, Pistons 1st seed
Lakers 2 wins, Pistons 10 wins
Looking at the last ten games, you could say both teams are pretty hot in the month of January. Okay...so the Pistons are burning
hot, and the Lakers (coughKobecough) are slowly adding distance between their current record and a mediocre .500 record they were holding earlier this season. What you may find interesting is that Detroit's last loss was at home, against Utah (second loss to the Jazz, by the way) where Sloan's squad outrebounded them by 15 boards, yet turned the ball over seven more times. Interesting enough, the rebounds came off misses not from Ben Wallace or Sheed, but mostly from Billups and Hamilton. Both shot near 33%, and the entire team managed a terrible 36% total from the field. Ugly.
Let's not be too positive, though...the Pistons are the best team in the NBA right now, and who knows, they could be one of the best teams in the history of the league by May. If they can hit 72+ wins and win the NBA title, there's no question about it. What makes the Pistons so dangerous this season is their new coach, Flip Saunders, who has slapped this squad with an offensive strategy to tag team with their already-feared defensive schemes. If Billups isn't killing you from the perimeter, Rip will handle you mid-range...or Sheed from wherever he wants, with Prince attacking the basket, and Big Ben denying your easy layups. This starting five is just nasty.
Kobe followed his 81-point blasting of the Raptors with a disappointing, yet refreshing 30-point win against Golden State Friday night. In the first three quarters, Kobe gave us a shocking five points on 2-12 shooting. Surprised? Weren't we all? However, in the fourth, he gathered up 16 points to total 21, and sent the game into overtime. If that wasn't enough, he racked up nine in the OT, winning the game with two free throws. It wasn't pretty at all, but hey...a win is a win, and the Lakers are doing just that, with Kobe still averaging 44 points a game in the month of January. In this month, the Lakers are 8-5, but with Kobe in the lineup, they are an impressive 8-3. Go figure.
For Los Angeles to win this game, they are going to need Jesus. That's right...the MAN himself. I don't know if he's a Laker fan or just a casual NBA fan, but if there's any way he can drop in and give us 30 tonight, we could very well pull away with a victory. The truth is, we are going to get our brains beat in if Kobe isn't playing well. In fact, he could drop 50 tonight, and the Lakers could still lose by double-digits. Phil needs to keep our big men in the game for as long as possible, and stick Bynum out there every once in a blue moon to play Darko or McDyess, and maybe even Big Ben. We need to play our most impressive defense yet, because we know we can probably outscore Detroit any other day of the week, but when they are locking teams down, they can hold about anyone to under 70 points (just ask the Spurs).
The game against Detroit won't be about team basketball...simply because even if we did have a team, the Pistons wouldn't allow us to use the rest of our players. Kobe will get his because his blood is ice cold in January, and he's coming off one of his worst games of the year (even though he won the game). If we are going to win this, Kobe needs 40+ and Odom needs 20, with a near triple double...with the Pistons being held to under 90 points. Fat chance...but not impossible, since the Jazz and Cavs own 3 total wins over Detroit to date, with the Wizards and Mavs being the other two. Pistons either win this game, 98-79...or the Lakers suit up Jesus, and win 89-87.