Preview & Chat: The Detroit Pistons

Darius Soriano —  November 4, 2012 — 95 Comments

Is there such a thing as a must win game this early in the season?

The Lakers may find out when they face the Detroit Pistons this evening at Staples Center. After an 0-3 start has fans on edge, facing the Pistons — projected to be a lottery team in the woeful (outside of Miami) East — should be just what the doctor ordered. Even though Nash is set to miss at least a week, this is a game the Lakers should win. If they don’t, in words of John Hollinger, batten down the hatches.

But lets not put the cart before the horse. We don’t want to ponder these things quite yet, right?

In order to win tonight, the Lakers simply need to build on some of the things they’ve shown to do quite well so far and start to cut out some of the mistakes that have been killing their chances at victory. Among these things…

  • Look to get Kobe the ball on the move. In case you haven’t noticed, Kobe Bryant — outside of the turnovers, which need to be dramatically cut down — has been playing fantastic offensive basketball. He’s been moving well off the ball by using screens and cuts wonderfully and that’s been leading to him getting the ball in spots where he’s most effective:

Kobe shot chart

  • As you can see from his shot chart, Kobe’s taken 40 shots inside 15 feet and 28 shots in the restricted area. Most of these shots have come with him taking hand-offs from the pinch post and driving or on cuts into open space. This should continue to be a major part of the Lakers’ offense.
  • Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol must continue to get their touches. Pau is shooting 47% from the field even though he’s still taking a fair amount of jumpers. Howard is shooting nearly 62% from the field and has drawn, on average, 11 fouls a game. In the last contest foul trouble and the flow of the game meant that the bigs weren’t as involved as they could have been. Tonight I hope to see them back to being more involved.
  • In moving into the negatives category, the Lakers must cut out the turnovers. Committing 59 in three games is comical. Even if you want to blame the Princeton offense for some of the miscues, the players are still being careless with passes and making bad reads with the ball. This has to stop, especially since the Lakers have so many issues transitioning from offense to defense after live ball turnovers.
  • Ron needs to find some semblance of his offense or he should see his minutes reduced. Lost in the hubbub of the Princeton offense and the struggling defense is that Ron is shooting 35% from the field and only 23% from three point land while committing nearly 4 turnovers a game. Against the Clippers he took seven three pointers and only hit one. After a very good preseason, Ron is either slumping or regressed horribly but both mean the same thing — he’s hurting the team’s O when he’s on the floor.

Tonight, the Pistons offer an interesting challenge. Like the Lakers, they are winless and that is indicative of their own struggles as a team. They lack depth and their best players are all pretty young, and thus, mistake prone. But, don’t mistake that youth for lack of talent because that’s certainly not the case.

Brandon Knight is a nice young PG that continues to make strides in his second season. He will attack off the dribble and can hit his pull up jumper if given room. Andre Drummond is only a rookie and is not yet starting, but shined during the preseason flashing athleticism and rare defensive instincts. Add to them Rodney Stuckey (who has struggled this season but is a nice combo guard) and Greg Monroe (a gifted offensive player, especially as a passer) and the Pistons have a good young core that can play in this league.

The Lakers, though, are the better team. Not just on paper but, even though they too are winless, on the floor. That means this is a game that should be won. Based off the circumstances of their season to this point, it needs to be won. Hopefully after the game the final score reflects this.

Darius Soriano

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95 responses to Preview & Chat: The Detroit Pistons

  1. Kobe Alert: Last game KB moved by Magic for 15th on the all time steals list, and he is now 1st on the Laker list in that category. He also eclipsed Buck Williams to move into 16th place in minutes played (MB clearly wants him to move up this list quickly). At tip off he will tie our own Horace Grant for 35th in all time games played. 30,000 points is drawing very near as he is now at 29,576. Please read the post above by Darius. Where would we be without this guy? Everyone came into the year worried about Kobe’s age and Kobe’s foot. As it turns out KB is the only thing going well this year (We have said that many times before). Enjoy the game and enjoy #24.

  2. I´ve gotta agree with you Robert, where would we be without Darius´ fine insights and hard work? Thanks Darius! – Mamba is an amazing dude for sure – As to the question whether this is a `must´ win or not, to me, it´s like this: Man, we sure could use one right the f*** now! Go Lakers!!

  3. I am really feeling positive that we will come away tonight with a win, and I can watch it, which is also good. Detroit is 0-2 and will be a lottery team, if the Lakers lose this game tonight all hell will break lose in Lakerland.

  4. Kobe is being nothing short of god-like. It is incredible that ar his age and with a coach that would leave him in 48 minutes regardless of circumstance he still has the energy to do what he does. It is a pleasure seeing him work.

    If only brown took care of him the way Pop takes care of his players…

  5. As much as you want to hate Kobe, he seems to be the only dependable in our team, regardless of who he plays with. Although the phrase is used somewhat mockingly, ‘he will find a way to get his’ describes him perfectly and I wish that all the other players had some of that in them.

    I’m still somewhat confused that Kobe is firmly in support of MB. But as long as he is, nothing is going to change. So let’s hope that at least we cut down turnovers. If we had half as many TOs as we do now, we’re probably 3-0 not 0-3.

  6. I am so split as a lifetime Laker fan. Never have I wanted a loss. But part of me wants to force the hand of ownership. They must find a real back up point guard and a small forward that can score and not fumble away the ball. I also know Brown has lost the confidence of the players and us fans. A loss would seal their fates but another loss would further anger me.

    I am so confused.

  7. it is still too early to be asking for MB’s seat… but we sure could use a win… Go Lakers!

  8. The Lakers have 59 turnovers, which is 19.7 per game average, opponents are averaging 23.3 points per game off of the turnovers. Lakers are scoring 16.0 points per game off of their opponents turnovers who are averaging 12.0 turnovers per game. Lakers need to do a better job at taking care of the ball which Darius pointed out in the game preview.

    Go Lakers and bring home the first win of the season.

  9. dice8up: It’s very reasonable to call for Mike Brown’s seat. Lakers didn’t win a chip last year, haven’t won since mid May, he hasn’t produced a elite defense, lost Bynum last year and is 0-3 with a $100 million dollar payroll team. The guy has to be walking on thin ice.

    Listening to Jim speak in all these interviews he’s the son of the greatest owner in sports Dr. Buss. But also sounds like a fan that wants to win. If he feels Brown isn’t the guy I think he’ll make a move. Or at least I hope so.

    With that said I hope we see a team working together win or lose. Time to see some progress of that process Brown speaks of.

  10. Huge game tonight for lakers and mike brown tonight. Cant keep losing AND run starters into ground. You can say its premature being only 3rd game in 82 game season but Lakers have very small window and 100mil payroll. Brown got a pass last year cuz of lockout and a lacking roster. I have zero inside info but if Lakers lose tonight I would b shocked if MB finishes season as Lakers HC.

  11. does anybody have a link where I can watch the game online?

  12. @Kevin, yes, I agree with you about the reason for MB’s firing.. but 3 games into the season is just too little a sample.. I know, last year didn’t end as we hoped it would…

  13. Anyone else notice that the Lakers are making an effort to speed up getting the ball inside – first 4-5 mins featured a lot of quicker entry passes and the shots are going up a lot quicker.

  14. @dice try and click on the bball header. Several streams either for league pass or time warner – some of the streams are choppy but some are decent

  15. Nice to see aggressive Pau. Kobe needs to stop forcing into the post.

  16. Yeesh, 5 mins in and we see a 1-5 pnr w Steve blake – where the hell was that the past 3 games w Nash

  17. Howard looking a little quicker tonight. That quick step to the baseline finally looking better. Like the energy that I see! Of course, it’s easier to stay in games when your turnovers are less than your opponents…

  18. 34 to 13 Lakers, nice.

  19. Am I the only one that think Steve Nash should just come off the bench, while blake start? As harsh as that sound when we have such a small sample size but Nash isn’t famous for his defense as a bench player with 25 minutes play times he can easily spark an offensive run and be the offensive plug that the Lakers need so badly using the pick and roll that he is famous for. While Blake which have experience in the triangle can easily incorporate himself into the new Princeton offense and at the same time set up the defensive philosophy early….even if blake is somewhat bad at defense himself. This will also help stabilize the familiar offense that is more Kobe ball dominance but also limit his ball handling when Nash is on the floor and also help reduce Nash standing around doing nothing.

  20. Lakers looking better, and not to take anything away from them, but wow, Detroit looks inept, a lot of unforced mistakes.

  21. Great quarter by the Lakers. At least I get to listen to the game thanks to NBA All-Access.

  22. Let’s face it. Detroit is bad! And with the way we’ve started the season, I’m glad they’re bad! Gotta continue to keep up the defensive intensity and limit the TO’s. And let’s see if our bench can give us anything tonight.

  23. End of the 1st and we’re up by 21. Meeks NEEDS to be in to start the 2nd quarter.

  24. I’ll be impressed if the starters force Brown to sit them the 4th by being up 30 after 3.

  25. I blasted Brown for playing Darius last game, and while I am still not sold, the kids 3 point shot has looked really good.

  26. Not a bad line from that old #24 … 8 points 5 assist in 12 minutes…

  27. @Anon – I’m pretty sure you’re the only one with that thought.

  28. Our bench us worse then last year. No idea what to do. Why is Jamison in the NBA he is useless. How can Meeks be worse?

  29. Google oleoletv if anyone needs a stream to watch the game – decent links there

  30. @KO… let’s give them a little more time.. they are still figuring out how to play the offense… it’s called discipline… as the season progresses, I am sure, we will see a lot better production and play from our bench.

  31. Hope so Dice. So far both here and Cleveland Brown has had issues developing bench players.

  32. Morris to Howard for the alley oop slam dunk.

  33. MWP playing the 2 right now. I’m guessing that he feels Detroit is so bad that this is a game in which he can experiment with lineups. @ least that’s what I’m hoping.

  34. Still don’t understand why Meeks is getting no burn.

  35. Where is Aaron tonight. So far I have been impressed with Morris. Might have something there.

  36. Kobe’s still a phemomenal offensive player but watching him play weakside defense is hilarious. Gives up so many open 3s every night.

  37. @Tra

    Nah, last night vs Clips, MB used also MWP as 2, Jamison at 3.

  38. So sick of Peace. He just stinks.

  39. Why can’t Blake play this way with the reserves, he is really jumping the passing lanes well tonight.

  40. Poor Rodney Stuckey – 1 for 22 to start the season:P

  41. Even MWP is hitting shots…this is just our night.

  42. RON RON RON for 3

  43. Please remove my last pist!

  44. Why are the starters playing 19:39, 21:39, and 19:13 in the first half in a blow-out game like this? Mike Brown really needs to learn how to manage minutes…

  45. This is not a must win for the Lakers. It is a must win for Mike Brown.

  46. That missed dunk is where we see that Dwight is not all the way back just yet.

  47. Well, at least we can trounce bad teams.

  48. Can we play Detroit every night? Blake looks kinda good tonight. If I was Stucky I would change my name. 2 for 27 I think. Ucky!

  49. Haha… So did MB slip some payola to the Pistons to get a win tonight… Or are the Pistons really this bad?

  50. Refs doing what MB doesn’t ave the sense to do. Sit Kobe in a 30+ point blowout.

  51. Why can’t Nash play how Blake is playing? Blake has played steady all 4 games maybe I should stop expecting him to score and let him be Blake.

  52. Anyone else concerned that this game will encourage MWP to take shots and dribble the ball? Fool’s gold tonight when it comes to him.

  53. Kevin

    Because all the world is not the Detroit Pistons. Let’s see what happens Weds in Utah..

  54. Ko: Defnitely not taking much from this game, but Blake’s been steady. Now mwp is a different story he needed a good outing more than anyone.

  55. Pistons going zone and MB still won’t play our supposed shooter, Meeks.

  56. Brown always playing guys out of their natural positions it’s annoying. the backcourt of Ebanks & Morris is horrible together.

  57. Geez, our bench is still pathetic! Just pathetic, but stupid!

  58. @ Zirk (any everyone else):

    Are there reports that Meeks has some unknown injury? Or has gotten himself in MB’s doghouse or something? Because I agree with Zirk–you would think that in the throes of a thirty-something point lead Meeks would have gotten at least a couple of minutes…..

    If neither of those things are true, then I’m going to start joining the “does MB know anything about rotations” crowd…..

  59. Yeesh – if Kobe gets hurt in these last 8 mins you have to fire MB. What does he think he’s doing?

  60. Why are Kobe and Howard in the game?

    I agree that it is weird that we have not seen meeks play

  61. Mike Brown is an idiot. He’s gonna have our fab four worn out come playoffs for sure…

  62. Brown re-inserting Kobe and Pau at this stage with a 24-point lead once and for all demonstrates his total insecurity as a coach. I was in the camp of wanting to give him a chance, but in my mind, he’s now toast.

    Can him.

  63. Jamison, 11 mins, 0 shots, 0 points, -13 in a game where we are blowing out the other team by 20+. This guy was to bolster our bench?

  64. Mike Brown has zero confidence in the bench. Kobe, Howard and Gasol back into the game.

  65. @mindcrime,
    They just said that MB has decided to go with Ebanks at the backup 2 for now. For length and defensive purposes. Who knows what Brown’s logic is?

  66. MB is trying to turn Morris into the next Fish!

  67. Zirk:

    Sorry–I flat out missed that. I’ve been working and watching at the same time.

    By the way–that plan makes zero sense.

    It’s part of the same problem—playing AJ at the 3 (when he should be at the “4”) and playing Ebanks at the “2” when he should be at the “3”…..Jamison is too slow to guard the “3” and Ebanks doesn’t have enough range to play the “2”—crazy….

  68. I don’t like our starters having to come back in the game during a blowout, but how incompetent is our freakin bench?! Every other team in the league can bring in 5 bench guys at once and they would play like they somewhat have game. When we bring in 5 bench guys at one, it’s utter chaos. It’s pathetic to watch. And not only do they suck, but they’re absolutely stupid! It’s unbelievable some of the passes they tried to make.

  69. I agree with you, mindcrime. It still doesn’t make sense to me.

  70. The more I watch Howard the more I LOVE the trade, a 7 footer that dunks, what a concept.

  71. This could be Blake’s best game s a Laker.

  72. Its funny when Mke Brown uses the logic that Ebanks is in the game for length and defensive purposes, but then he is directly responsible for turning the ball over and giving away points.

  73. Starters have been very good.

    Bench very bad.

    Jamison is done. Reminds me of Walton. Worthless.

    Eubanks. Not much better.

    What did Meeks do to Brown? Let’s see Duhon. Your paying the guy, can’t be that bad.

  74. Meeks has been freed.

  75. Brickfest LOL

  76. MB is now trying to turn Ebank into the next Luke Walton.

  77. Thought I saw Brown send Clark to the subs table then called him back. I’ve never seen a coach so indecisive.

    As I type that of course he comes in but this was before the timeout just now.

  78. Duhon should have the nod before Morris

  79. This game means absolutely nothing. Pistons are so poor, there is nothing meaningful that you can take away from it at all – aside from ingame conditioning for Howard et al.

  80. Finally! Granted, Detroit might not even win 20 games this season, but a win is a win. Let’s see if the team builds on this at Utah.

  81. @Jerke,
    I disagree. There is something we can take away from this game. Our bench still sucks!

    But I’m just glad we finally got off the schnide with a W. Who know’s what this means long term since Detroit is just awful, but we needed a win badly and we got it. Still not sold on MB tho…

  82. Great win. We needed it desperately. First win for the DH era. Yes yes – the problems remain – but hey it is a start.

  83. Great win. We needed this.

  84. Pistons stink, but a 29 point win is impressive against any NBA team. Keep in mind the Lakers lead by 30 plus after one half. The starters absolutely dominated that team. This may be what the Lakers needed, a game against a bad team where they could perhaps find themselves a little more. A win like this will hopefully give them more confidence as a team. Of course we can’t get too excited yet, it was just one win against a bad team and the Lakers did this a lot last year where they would crush bad teams and get beat a lot by the better ones. However, it is finally a step in the right direction.

  85. @zirk – lol – you know what, I don’t know if thats true (though they do look f’ugly at times) – because they don’t get a chance to play in proper rotation so its next to impossible for them to figure out their roles.

    “I feel really good about the direction that we’re going,” Brown said. “Obviously in the short term, it’s not pretty. It’s not fun right now, but I really feel confident in what we’re trying to do with the group of guys that we have. It’s just going to take a little bit of time for them to completely understand what we have going on and then also myself to where I’m comfortable with the rotation, the things that I want to do with our guys on the floor and so on and so forth.”

    For a guy who’s won nothing but rode coattails of the best two players in the game (plus to downplay Nashes achievemenst because “the pnr didn’t win him a chip” – the arrogance is just incredible. This guy acts like he’s got this big master plan and he knows better than everyone else – love how he states that THEY have to UNDERSTAND WHAT HE HAS GOING ON – versus tailoring his offence and defense to his players strengths instead.
    I’m not a Lakers fan per se (though I did travel from canada to see the Suns play the lakers xmas 07 and have respect for Kobe since then) and have basically followed Nashty’s career since having played in BC highschool while he was best in the province – so thats my only tie to this team or any other for that matter so I’m not gonna troll about how Lakers suck or brag them up too much when they win or lose – but as an outsider coming into Lakeshow territory – wow, does MB ever seem messed up. Occassionally caught some of the commentary last seasonregarding his coaching but gave him a pass because of the shortened season and Bynum being a knucklehead. But yeesh – seriously, the staff in Phoenix with ALvin Gentry and Elston Turner would be a huge upgrade over MB and his methods. He needs a reminder in the KISS school of coaching.

  86. That is the type of Laker energy we are looking for – DOMINATE. I put this win on Pau and Metta of course they fed the bread and butter of the Lakers but if these two players play this manner in every game, even if we have a weak bench, we compensate by pouring more points when they are in. If you tell Pau to take his shots to the hoop than looking for pass, he’s one of the best pivot player in the posts. Nobody was stalling and maybe nobody was thinking of the PO as well they just play loose and never wasted precious seconds in lateral passing.

    If the Lakers played in this manner against Dallas, Blazer, Clippers, well then they are now 4-0. They grabbed the attention of the league than being a laughing stock of being old, slow and injury prone. .

  87. Needed this win, glad we got it.. With style, no less.

    I like second unit + Dwight over second unit + Pau. Faster and more efficient at least based on tonight’s performance. May be too early to tell, but the energy was a lot higher with this rotation in my opinion. Hopefully will stick.

    Still don’t get why on earth MB subbed the starters back in when we were still up 24 points. Like have some freaking faith in your team, man.

    My guy Ebanks had a pretty terrible game of course, but I think more than anything he’s suffering from a lack of confidence. I think any player would be if they had to deal with MB kept taking them out of the game every 2 seconds just for making one mistake. Ebanks plays best when he’s allowed minutes. Still have the utmost confidence in him, just wish he got more respect from MB.

  88. Nice to see some positives. Lakers fed the post very well early in the game. Blake & Morris did a good job at PG. Pau showed some aggression. Metta with some good deep shooting. Dwight asserting his dominance. Kobe getting everybody involved. Antawn getting his first three. (I still think Antawn will come around.)

    Now Mikey has two days to reinforce these positives in practice and prepare for Utah on Weds. If The Show can come away with a win in a tough environment like Salt Lake City, it will go a long way towards developing chemistry and confidence. One step at a time.

  89. 30+ blowout and we can’t play starters less than 30 minutes.

    Worse, the Pistons’ starters played less than 30 minutes, 26 mins tops. One minute here and there probably don’t amount to much, but it is worrisome that we can’t even play our bench guys 15 minutes on a blowout.

  90. Harold….

    Agree that the Laker bench could have played much better but the reason that the Pistons’ starters played so few minutes is because they were substituted for en masse due to a lack of effort. Besides, Brown has no confidence in any of his bench players and I’m sure they can sense his lack of trust in them. Makes for nervous performances from the 2nd unit.

  91. It was good to win a game that we were supposed to win. Lots of comments about negatives with the Laker players and staff, some maybe valid, but at least we won. I agree though that the starters are going to be worn out, by the time the playoffs start. In a blowout game why do the starters have to log heavy minutes. Is the Laker bench that bad? I guess the coach thinks so.

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