Pistons vs. Lakers preview: Franchise history on the line

Detroit Bad Boys

The Pistons were supposed to be entering this game on a 1-game winning streak. Instead, they have hit rock bottom and there isn’t an end in site. This is like when scientists thought they found the bottom of the ocean, only to find another trench that goes thousands of feet deeper. We have officially entered that trench as the Pistons play 3 games in 5 nights against teams that will probably be playoff teams when the season is over.

If there is a “winnable” game out of this stretch, it could be against the Lakers, as the are 4-0 in In-Season Tournament play and only 6-8 outside of the tournament. That is significantly better than the Pistons, but the Lakers could also use this as an opportunity to rest LeBron James since they also play tomorrow night.

Even if LeBron does not play, the Lakers are a better team, but maybe they will overlook this game.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, November 29 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Lakers (-7.5)

Analysis

After a run to the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers retooled a bit this offseason and were hoping to be towards the top of the standings in the West. Instead, they have been overly reliant on 38 year old LeBron James, who continues to defy father time, but it has resulted in a 10-8 record coming into this game.

As I mentioned above, the Lakers are 4-0 during In-Season Tournament play and only 6-8 in non-tournament play, which kind of signals a team that is coasting, but can turn in on when games mean a bit more. That is not shocking given the experience they have on their roster.

Anthony Davis was supposed to be taking the reigns from LeBron James at this point, and while he is still a very good player, the fact that he isn’t dominating games means that LeBron is having to play more minutes and do more on tired legs. He is currently 2nd on the team with 33.6 minutes per game behind Davis, but is leading the team in scoring. He also just surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most minutes played in a career.

Luckily, there is a chance that LeBron (facing Isaiah Stewart) does not play tonight given the fact that the Lakers are playing the Pistons and their game against the Thunder tomorrow night holds a bit more importance.

The Lakers will still have Anthony Davis, who has had career games against the Pistons in the past. They also have some solid depth pieces like Austin Reaves, Taurean Prince, and old friend Christian Wood. The Lakers also have D’Angelo Russell who can catch fire every few games.

The objective for the Pistons is simple, just win this game. They had their opportunity to end the winning streak against an inferior team in the Washington Wizards on Monday night and proceeded to lose by 19 points. The Lakers are coming off a 34 point loss to the Sixers, so they could have a bit of extra motivation to run up the score on a bad team.

The Pistons new starting backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey has been solid since the change was made a few games ago. Cade’s shooting efficiency has been better and he is also turning over the ball less by playing with more of an offensive threat like Ivey. They still need more help, but things have been looking a little better.

The Pistons only shot 8-of-38 from beyond the arc against Washington on Monday, which isn’t going to cut it against any NBA team. A lot of the shots were open, they just were not making them. That has been a continuous problem for the Pistons along with back-breaking turnovers, which were both present in that game. Getting Bojan Bogdanovic back will definitely help with that a bit, but unless somebody like Alec Burks remembers how to shoot again, the Pistons are still very lacking in the shooting department

Something is going to have to give if the Pistons want any shot in this game. Even if LeBron does not play, this will be a tough game to win. A loss tonight sets a new franchise-record 15 game losing streak.

Lineups

Detroit Pistons (2-15): Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren

Los Angeles Lakers (10-8): D’Angelo Russell, Max Christie, Taurean Prince, LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Question of the Day

What are you going to do tonight instead of watching this game?

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