It’s a busy sports day in Detroit, with the Detroit Lions trying to hold onto slim NFL playoff hopes and hosting the division-leading Minnesota Vikings. A few hours later, the Pistons will host one of the game’s most iconic players for the once-a-year-trip to Little Caesars Arena, as LeBron James and the Lakers don the purple and gold in Detroit. Game info and live updates below.
You may recall the last time the Lakers were here: Bloody Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, when Isaiah Stewart chased James around the court in a stunning rage in the third quarter, bulldozing over anyone in his way. He was ejected, though only suspended two games, and much was said and written in the following days. The Lakers won the matchup by the way, 121-116, when the Pistons blew a 17-point second-half lead. James was suspended one game for his flying fist that caught Stewart over his right eye. But Cade Cunningham, who continues to be sidelined with a shin injury, isn’t in uniform this time to hold Stewart back. Let’s hope everyone makes up this time.
The Lakers started the season 2-10, but have played better the past month under first-year coach Darvin Ham, led by Anthony Davis. They defeated the Pistons in mid-November in LA, 128-121, without James − Davis dominated with 38 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, making 18 of 21 free throws. Now, Detroit is the last stop on LA’s six-game road trip, and it has lost the past three (Cleveland, Toronto, Philadelphia) after knocking off Milwaukee and Washington to start. The Lakers have ground to make up at 13th in the Western Conference, three games out of the play-in tournament.
Davis, 29, is playing excellently, averaging 27.5 points on a career-best 59.3% shooting, along with 12.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks.
James, whose offensive game has become more 3-point reliant the past few seasons, continues to defy time, as he turns 38 in a few weeks. He’s collecting 25.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game playing as more of a big forward nowadays and even, at times, gets backup minutes at center. He has not shot the ball well to start the season, averaging a career-low 4.8 free throw attempts (making 69.8%) and taking 7.3 3-pointers per game (making 31.8%) in 18 games.
Their other post-prime former MVP, Russell Westbrook, 34, has adjusted well to coming off the bench after starting the season’s first three games. He’s averaging 15.2 points, eight assists and 5.5 rebounds over 28 minutes in 21 games off the bench, though turnovers (3.9) and poor shooting continue to plague him (41.6 FGs/32.5 3Ps/68.2 FTs). But he’s dangerous with his speed attacking on straight line drives and in transition.
The Lakers are also getting quality play from their lone sharpshooters, Lonnie Walker IV (16 points per game, 37.6% from 3) and Austin Reaves (10.9 points, 37.2% from 3). Reaves scored 25 off the bench in Friday night’s 133-122 overtime loss in Philadelphia.
The Pistons own the sport’s worst record. Bojan Bogdanovic, who signed a two-year contract extension six weeks ago, is the team’s top offensive option at 20.3 points per game, making 2.5 3s on 43.2%. Rookie guard Jaden Ivey (15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists) starts in the backcourt along with the resurgent Killian Hayes (11.6 points, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals over his past 17 games).
Follow updates from the game below.
Detroit Pistons (7-21) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10-15)
When: 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WWJ-AM 950 (Pistons radio affiliates).
Don’t see the updates? Refresh the page or check it out on Twitter.