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Five things to watch in Lakers-Pistons matchup

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1. How will the Lakers respond on a back-to-back?

The Lakers embark on their second set of back-to-backs Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. PST against Detroit, something that became a mixed bag for the Lakers in the 2009-2010 season as 15 of their 25 losses came on these trips. Nonetheless, the Lakers fared the best on back-to-backs when both of those games came on the road, as indicated by their 16-8 mark. The Lakers (9-2) decreased from 20 sets of back-to-backs last season to 15 this season, marking the first time since the NBA's first season in 1948-49 the Lakers have played such few sets.

Detroit (4-7) shouldn't be much of a test. The Lakers, after all, have won their last two road games against the Pistons by an average of 13.5 points. But it'll be interesting to see if any outside variables, such as the travel and the quick turnaround from the Lakers' 118-107 win Tuesday over Milwaukee, has any bearing on Wednesday night's contest.

2. Will the Lakers' rotation change?

One of the biggest areas to see where the back-to-back will influence the game involves the team's rotations. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson typically plays his starters heavier minutes on one of the games (usually the most competitive), which partly explains why Pau Gasol played 44 minutes against Milwaukee and Derrick Caracter earned a "DNP." It wouldn't be surprising for that to change against the Pistons, even before the Lakers build a large lead. It also wouldn't be surprising if Ron Artest plays more than the 17 minutes he logged against Milwaukee. Although he didn't divulge much to reporters afterward, the KCAL-9 telecast indicated that Artest had problems with his hip during the game. Jackson says he'll play Artest against the Pistons, so it wouldn't be too surprising if Matt Barnes doesn't log the 27 minutes he had against the Bucks. Still, Artest has had a so-so season both in offense and defense, and I wouldn't be surprised if his limited minutes become more of the norm this season.

3. How will Pistons' inner turmoil hold up?

Things aren't exactly going well in Detroit, and I'm not talking about its economic turmoil. The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis and Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears detailed pretty well the team's dissension with Coach John Kuester. Some examples: Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince having a heated argument on the sideline with Kuester during Detroit's 101-97 loss Monday to the Golden State Warriors. Detroit guard Ben Gordon and forward Austin Daye openly questioned Kuester's in-game adjustments. And Kuester benched Pistons forward Rodney Stuckey during a recent loss in Atlanta after he ignored his name being called twice by Kuester.

Obviously, the Pistons' challenge in upsetting the defending champs goes beyond Xs and O's.

4. Can the Lakers sustain a sizable lead?

I don't forsee the result really remaining in question. Though Detroit his six players averaging double figures, its low assist rate shows the Pistons don't really play as a team. Also, as Jackson appropriately noted, "Detroit's been an empty Palace for the last couple years," so I wouldn't expect as hostile an environment as the Lakers typically experience. But I'm curious whether the Lakers can hold a double-digit lead, not just because of their interest level, but because of Detroit's ability to overcome large deficits.

The Pistons' bench, featuring Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, has two of the team's top scorers and largely contributed to the team's effort in slicing a 32-point deficit in Monday's four-point loss to Golden State. In a road game Dec. 20, the Lakers' bench allowed a 21-point lead against the Pistons to evaporate to within eight points in the fourth quarter, forcing the starters to come back in and secure the victory. The makeup of the Lakers' reserves is much different this season, but it's still something the team should have on its mind.

5. Artest reunion

I don't want to overstate this because this is the fifth time Artest has played in Detroit since the infamous brawl at the Palace in 2004, but I have to think the reunion of sorts gives him a great opportunity to promote his cause for mental health issues.

--Mark Medina

[email protected]

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant finishes off a dunk against the Detroit Pistons in the first quarter of a regular-season game two seasons ago. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky/EPA.

 
Comments () | Archives (39)

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Dear Laker Fans of Machine,

Machine very angry! Only Machine deserve nickname. First, Shannon start shooting 3's like Machine, than he steal minutes from Machine, than he gets engaged to celebrity like Machine, and now he want nickname like Machine. Shannon jealous of sexiness of Machine and copy Machine. Please... Laker fans of Machine, do not forget Machine. Machine want new nickname too. Machine new nickname is 'Phil Hate Me'.

Sincerely,

Sasha V.

You know what I want to see tonight? A good old fashioned defensive lock-down. Let's see the Lakers get some metaphorical "road tacos." Whoa. That sounds kinda weird. But I think you all know what I mean.

Go Lake Show!

Outlaw - That's a good idea.

Let Shannon have 40 minutes! Let's really see what he can bring on both ends of the court. I just like what I see when he's given a chance.

MM - Game's at 4:30

The Low Down REPOST

KobeMVP888- My "gripe" is that Mitch Kupchak might have blown a golden opportunity by signing him for too short a contract for too little money. This kid will earn a starting job somewhere next season for some real dough.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 02:49 PM

This should win you RCOTD, spot on POINT.

GO HEAT

@CCX… Hey, I am thrilled to eat crow with respect to Shannon Brown. I only hope the stellar play continues. The Killer B’s are the real deal. If you consider Lamar Odom to be 1 of our 6 starters, which is really how he should be classified, then the Lakers have the great luxury of being able to cover all of the bench minutes required (blow outs excluded) with just the Killer B’s, which is similar to how the Lakers can cover all the front court minutes in every game with Drew, Pau, and Lamar. The net effect is that the Lakers now have a solid 9-man rotation comprised of 9 players who are good enough to be starters.

TOM

Jon K-It seemed like Shannon Brown has caught a case of Kobeitis.

And the Mamba has LOST it.


GO HEAT

My "gripe" is that Mitch Kupchak might have blown a golden opportunity by signing him for too short a contract for too little money. This kid will earn a starting job somewhere next season for some real dough.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 02:49 PM

This should win you RCOTD, this is spot on POINT.

Posted by: JUSTA HATER | November 17, 2010 at 03:25 PM
=====

Yikes! I put quotes around the word "gripe" because I didn't exactly mean this "spot on POINT." The Lakers are considerably into luxury tax territory with the highest payroll in the league and the negotiations between Mark Bartelstein and Mitch Kupchak were long and drawn out for reasons we will never know. You may recall that Brown was the last player signed to fill out the roster before Mitch dealt with the rookies. I'm sure part of it was cost savings to the Lakers and the other part was Brown wanting a chance to earn more money in the future (hence the player option for next season). Obviously, ShanWow didn't get offers anywhere near the MLE or even near Farmar's 3 year, 12 mil deal, so he had to compromise. Mitch Kupchak certainly had no reason to have a crystal ball that Brown's game would improve exponentially and, even if he did, he would have had to ask Dr. Buss for permission to offer him a lot more money. So it appears to have worked out for both sides and the Lakers still own his Bird rights. So I hereby offer to once again eat crow for poorly conveying a point. The very simple point is: "Man, did we get a deal for this kid this season or what!"

Is there a game anytime soon? I thought it started at 7:30 est. Yet, no game is on. Hmmm...


Wes

I'm back in the house, had to spend a little time away. Like pay my debt to the MAN. "FREE at LAST" Where's my partners in CRIME, wrong word.

Go Heat/ Go LakeShow / Go Raiders

Here's a short little interview with Bynum today. We are far from having any clarity:

http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2010/11/17/andrew-bynum-nov-17-injury-update/

KobeMVP888- Drew is saying all the wrong words, like I hope I don't have a set back. Needs to be a little bit more POSITIVE.

GO HEAT/GO LAKESHOW/GO RAIDERS

I'd love to see Artest play some extra minutes in the 4 spot to help spell Odom/Gasol. This would also obviously mean extended minutes for Barnes/Ebanks at the 3 off the bench.
LET'S GO LAKERS - I want to see a 15-17 point win tonight, preferably holding the Pistons to under 100 in this game.

So Tony's about to lose that FINE old lady..... Maybe Eva will give a real man some action, LIKE ME.
Go Heat

Oh, nevermind. It's only 6:57pm est. (Wes yells like Regis

Philbin). I hate it when they change the time on me like

that!

Lets go NBA. I'm ready to go to sleep.

Wes

KobeMVP888- Drew is saying all the wrong words, like I hope I don't have a set back. Needs to be a little bit more POSITIVE.

GO HEAT/GO LAKESHOW/GO RAIDERS

Posted by: JUSTA HATER | November 17, 2010 at 03:50 PM
=====

I could care less what he's saying, although he's actually saying all the RIGHT things because if he GUESSES wrong, all the bashers will have a heyday. You don't win championships in November or December anyway. As long as he's in basketball shape in April, that works for me.

Mamba24- How about a Bandwagon for ME. "Welcome BACK HOME" bandwagon, I miss this blog.
Go Heat/Go Lakeshow/Go Raiders

KobeMVP888- My "gripe" is that Mitch Kupchak might have blown a golden opportunity by signing him for too short a contract for too little money. This kid will earn a starting job somewhere next season for some real dough.
===============

Maybe.
And maybe everyone is getting ahead of themselves.
It's only been 10 games and he wants a cool nick and now he was signed for too short of a time for too low of a salary.
If this approach doesn't jinx him, great.
Remember last years dunk contest?
Remember the expectations for Shannon going into the contest?
There's an awful lot of BB yet to be played against a lot better teams.
How about revisit this in February or March.

I thing it's great how Shannon has done well so far but jeepers, it's been 10 games. If Kobe played bad for 10 games everyone would say oh, don't worry about it, it's only 10 games, it's only the second month of the season which doesn't mean anything anyway.

How many times has Drew played 10 good games then kerplunk.
And why is LO teased for being so inconsistent for so many years.
Now if Shannon can produce like this during the course of an entire season or during the intensity of playoff games and against teams that really play some D, then nickname him the stud or whatever.

Just a different perspective.

@SASHA V
BAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! I am in stitches!!!
I hope Sasha stays at least for the rest of the season so we can get more posts like this one.

So Tony's about to lose that FINE old lady..... Maybe Eva will give a real man some action, LIKE ME. Go Heat Posted by: JUSTA HATER | November 17, 2010 at 03:53 PM
*
ROTFLMAO!!! STOP IT!! STOP IT NOW!!!

Mamba24- How about a Bandwagon for ME. "Welcome BACK HOME" bandwagon, I miss this blog. Posted by: JUSTA HATER | November 17, 2010 at 04:00 PM
*
LMAO!!! Man you really are a funny dude!

Art

Words of wisdom.

I clarified that comment in a more thorough post. "Gripe" was said kiddingly, hence the quotes.

JUSTA HATER - supposedly Tony was doin' Brent Barry's wife Erin. Guess Brent won't be taking part in those NBA TV SA highlights anymore. Too bad it wasn't Timmy's wife, we might have been able to pick him up cheap on a trade to the Spurs.

I kid, I kid! Back to the novel.

Lakers at4:30 PST!

Posted by: 63 Footer | November 17, 2010 at 04:01 PM
=====

I doubt it was only Brent Barry's wife. I hear they call him "Tony the Tiger" in San Antonio. Get it. :)

KobeMVP,

Yeah, I didn't see your second post until after I posted mine and I see your point. Glad you see mine.

JUSTA HATER - supposedly Tony was doin' Brent Barry's wife Erin. Guess Brent won't be taking part in those NBA TV SA highlights anymore. Too bad it wasn't Timmy's wife, we might have been able to pick him up cheap on a trade to the Spurs. I kid, I kid! Back to the novel. Lakers at4:30 PST!
Posted by: 63 Footer | November 17, 2010 at 04:01 PM
=====

I doubt it was only Brent Barry's wife. I hear they call him "Tony the Tiger" in San Antonio. Get it. :) Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 04:07 PM
*
ROTFLMAO!! PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!! Stop this ISH now!!! SWEET JESUS!

63 footer- Great novel, the trade would be completed with Luke, Sasha and (2) second round picks. Time to wake up, Timmy will retire a Spur.

Mamba24- The main MAN of the BLOG, how are you sir? nice to see you kickin it tonight, should be a great BLOW OUT. LakeShow by 20, Brown with 20 and 7.

I could care less what he's saying, although he's actually saying all the RIGHT things because if he GUESSES wrong, all the bashers will have a heyday. You don't win championships in November or December anyway. As long as he's in basketball shape in April, that works for me.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 03:59 PM
-
I totally agree with you, 888 but...If he can ONLY be healthy in April, we might have to reconsider the whole Bynum-plan, I'm afraid to say...

I totally agree with you, 888 but...If he can ONLY be healthy in April, we might have to reconsider the whole Bynum-plan, I'm afraid to say...

Posted by: Magic Phil | November 17, 2010 at 04:18 PM
===

I was exaggerating. The point is there's no rush.

hey all, great game evening-

since we're in Detroit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXpfIN5f_SU

c'mon Lakers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsTLszNDUOM

enjoy the game everyone-

I hear they call him "Tony the Tiger" in San Antonio. Get it. :)

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 04:07 PM


Well, he's about to become a pussy cat. And Eva is about to become a Desperate Exwife. I think I'll take my talents to San Antonio!

I doubt it was only Brent Barry's wife. I hear they call him "Tony the Tiger" in San Antonio. Get it. :) Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 04:07 PM
*
ROTFLMAO!! PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!! Stop this ISH now!!! SWEET JESUS!

Posted by: MAMBA24 | November 17, 2010 at 04:08 PM
=====

Man, I'm such a loser. Why couldn't today be Tony Parker Nickname Day instead? I think I might have finally won something!

Well, he's about to become a pussy cat. And Eva is about to become a Desperate Exwife. I think I'll take my talents to San Antonio!

Posted by: Laker J | November 17, 2010 at 04:24 PM
====

The reference was to Tiger Woods, who has also become a pussy cat.

Well, he's about to become a pussy cat. And Eva is about to become a Desperate Exwife. I think I'll take my talents to San Antonio! Posted by: Laker J | November 17, 2010 at 04:24 PM
*
LMAO!!!!! Everybody is a freakin comedian today!

The reference was to Tiger Woods, who has also become a pussy cat.
Posted by: KobeMVP888 | November 17, 2010 at 04:26 PM
*
Obviously I must stop encouraging you people...LMAO!!!

MM - can we delete the spam by ronrondeee at 4:30 on this thread?

Thanks!

Guys - Stop with the Tony Parker jokes. I don't want this forum to be about off court affairs. Let's keep it to basketball

Playing Pau is a good step but this would be an excellent opportunity to give Caracter more playing time and the necessary experience while Ratliff recovers.This step will be beneficial as the season progresses and possibly more injuries occur.Consider the wear and tear on the starters over another tough season. Phil you have to deviate from your pattern of using veterans. Give the younger players the opportunity in the early season to play and extend the durability of the veteran players and starters. Do not waste Kobe, Pau,Odom,Fisher and Artest in games that can be won with your bench players.


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