Record: 36-5 (Are you kidding me?)
Last 10 games: 10-0
When lightning strikes: Two of their last three losses are to Utah, a long defensive team. If the Lakers have a chance to stay with the Pistons today it will be accomplished on the boards. Good forward play will be integral. Okur and Kirilenko killed them. However, Utah got the benefit of catching the Pistons on the second night of a back to back for both games. The Lakers won’t have that luxury.
When you think Pistons, you think…Offense?: The Pistons are 9th in the league in scoring, up from 24th last season. They are taking higher percentage shots and sharing the ball without turning it over. Billups and Hamilton are masters of the mid range game. Take notes Smush.
Finding a happy place: Kobe has averaged 20.3 points in 20 games against the Pistons, but has reached the 30-point mark just three times. How long will he wait before he tries to take the team on his shoulders? My guess is sooner than later. Can he find a happy place that gives him enough shots while distributing at the opportune moments?
The Sage sez: “Kobe has to conform to the system and program for this to work right and the players have to step up and also score and do the right things for us to fulfill our goals to have a complete team.”
The optimist’s creed: “Promise yourself– To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” Cause here comes trouble.
Turiaf stays: Ronny will go with the Lakers on the 7 game road trip due to the fact that the NBDL affiliate, the Fort Worth Flyers, will only play 3 games over the next 15 days. Now if he just solves his “work-visa issues”
Basking in the Glow…
Charley Rosen on 81: ” It should also be noted that even though Kobe’s adherence to the triangle is a “sometimes thing,” the hard-to-plot player movements inherent in the offense made it difficult for Toronto to double-team Kobe (simply because designating Smush Parker’s defender, say, to be the two-timer, won’t work if Parker is unexpectedly three passes away on any given set â€” and so on.)… Let’s see how many points he scores against the Pistons on Sunday.”
An Inspired Heisler: Lawrence of Arabia, Lot’s wife, Mt. Olympus. Obviously someone is still giddy over the 81 point game a week after the fact. Warm yourself in the glow. He also runs some nice smack at the folks who were less than gracious in their reaction to Kobe’s historical night.
Chris McCosky, Detroit News: “We probably can stop the debate on the leading candidate for most valuable playerâ€¦. Chauncey Billups may be driving the best team in basketball, but the best player in basketball is undeniably Kobe Bryant.”
Help in the Paint: Nikolay Valuev, 7 foot, 323 pound Russian Heavyweight Champ. Imagine getting around that pick.