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Pistons vs. Lakers preview: Can Detroit beat the champs (if they’re missing LeBron and Davis)?

Blake Griffin returns, but Lakers stars might be missing

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons were able to beat the Philadelphia 76ers by 15 when Philly was missing star center Joel Embiid. Who is to say it can’t happen again tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers?

The Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Pistons. That’s a lot of firepower and defense missing from the lineup. Detroit, meanwhile, should again have the services of Blake Griffin. Does that help or hurt Detroit? I’m afraid we all know the answer ... On the other hand, tanking, etc. etc.

Game Vitals

When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +7

Game Analysis

The betting opened at Pistons +9.5 and it only dropped to +7. Obviously, LeBron and Davis are way more important than that, but Detroit, it seems, is just that bad. Sad, really.

Both these teams will be on a back-to-back. The Lakers played in Philly last night while the Pistons played in Cleveland. Both teams lost. One of those teams is probably really pissed off about losing and looking to take it out on one of the worst teams in the league. I won’t mention names in order to keep everyone in suspense.

Even without its two best players, the Lakers are still pretty stacked with talent, and plenty of it has Michigan connections. Flint native Kyle Kuzma would likely slide into the starting lineup, and he could be joined by either Montrez Harrell or former Piston, however briefly, Markieff Morris. Fellow former Pistons Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is already entrenched at starting shooting guard, and he’s having a really good year for the Lakers. As a resident KCP stan through thick and thin during his years in Detroit and beyond, it’s great to see.

KCP is slashing nearly 50/50/90 on the season and delivering his customary quality perimeter defense. He has a career-high 69.8 true shooting percentage and is a steadying veteran presence after years of his shot being strangely up-and-down.

If Detroit should wish for anything, maybe it’s Derrick Rose going off for 30-plus points just to juice that trade market. And I look forward to seeing Wayne Ellington hit a handful of 3s. Oh, and the Isaiah Stewart and Montrezl Harrell matchup is sure to generate some trash talk that could very well escalate from there.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (4-14)

Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee

Los Angeles Lakers (14-5)

Dennis Schroeder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kyle Kuzma, Montrez Harrell

Question of the Game

I fear a huge night from Schroder tonight. What’s his final line going to look like?