Game tips at 6:00 pm ET
Los Angeles: 21-4 (6-2 Road)
Pistons: 11-15 (8-4 Home)
The Lakers were a championship team without one of the most dominant centers in the game. Now they have one of the most dominant centers in the game. Pistons fans can breathe easy, though. DJ Mbenga's status is day-to-day.
Curiously enough, the Lakers have posted the league's best record largely through defense. They rank only 14th in the league in offensive efficiency, in spite of an offense that boasts some big names. Much of this can be explained by the addition of Artest, whose strength is defense, but who continues to demand the ball on the offensive end, albeit to a lesser degree than in past years.
More troubling for Lakers fans (cue world's smallest violin) is the inability of Odom to produce this season. He was never a great shooter, but 27% and 57% on three-pointers and free throws respectively essentially makes him a ghost on offense. In the past, the Lakers have had a bevy of long-ballers to take pressure of its stars. One wonders when teams will start resorting to a bit of zone.
I might retire this section for a couple of weeks. It's tough to have much drama when your trotting out the JV team for every game.
Keys for Detroit
Manage something from the three point range: Is a 5-14 performance cause for celebration? Again, no. With all of these streak shooters, aren't we due for a 12-20 deluge?
Force the Lakers to produce from long range: A steady diet of Bynum and Gasol = Death. Clog the lanes, keep the ball out of their hands, and let Kobe and Artest try to beat you from outside. They will try.
Find some balance: The Pistons are starting to party like it's 1999, when two players would score half of the team's points on any given night. Teams like that are predictable.
Question of the Game
Will Ben Gordon suit up? His presence would certainly help with that last key.