Since rookie Cade Cunningham has entered the fray this month, the Detroit Pistons have been a team on the rise. Now, that rise hasn’t been anything to bat an eye at, but the team we’re watching now is one that seems to be figuring out little things every game.
Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have much higher aspirations, but they too are trying to figure themselves out early this season. It makes for an interesting matchup tonight.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
When: 6 p.m. ET
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +7.5
The Lakers are always a hot ticket. LCA will be bumping tonight with stars like LeBron, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and even Carmelo Anthony in town. I’ve been to a few Lakers-Pistons game in the dark years... there are so many freaking Lakers fans.
However, this is the first time in years that the Lakers come in looking volatile and fragile. This isn’t the team we expected coming into the year. LeBron has struggled with injuries, returning after a weeks-long absence last game. Westbrook is still trying to figure out how to fit into all of this. I mean, Davis and Anthony are the only consistent pieces right now.
Los Angeles has dropped four for heir last five, including a 130-108 blowout in Boston on Friday night. The Pistons have been pretty solid. They’re obviously willing to lay an egg on any given night, but most of the time they’re up for the challenge — even if it ends up being too tall of one.
Tonight’s game has the potential to devolve into quite a shootout. The Lakers can’t defend anybody, and if Cunningham can find his groove early as he did against Golden State on Friday, things will open up for everyone else.
Frank Jackson’s emergence, breaking out for 27 points agains the Warriors, is another much-needed development for Detroit. Too often, the only bench scoring the Pistons could count on was from Cory Joseph... and I know how most of you feel about that.
Jackson is a better on-court piece to swap in and out with the starters. He’s a floor spacer who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to help you. That means more Cade-at-the-Point minutes, which can only help this team and his development.
It’s hard to predict what might happen tonight because of the Lakers’ tendency to rest their stars. For the fans at LCA, I hope we see a full-strength squad for LA. While Killian Hayes against Westbrook and Jerami Grant + Cade + Saddiq Bey against LeBron aren’t good enough to shut down the stars, I think they can make life harder on them.
But with the Pistons shortage of big men, Davis has he potential to torch Detroit.
Los Angeles Lakers (8-9)
Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley, Talon Horton-Tucker, LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Detroit Pistons (4-11)
Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
Question of the Game
How will Cade Cunningham perform in his first matchup against LeBron James?