The Los Angeles Lakers make the cross-country trip to Little Caesars Arena for an inter-conference showdown with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. The Lakers (8-9) have dealt with the injury bug through their first 17 games, but have remained afloat in the Western Conference. The Pistons (4-11) have lost seven of their first 11 games, but have seen flashes of their promising future with Cade Cunningham’s improved play. The Lakers open this matchup as considerable road favorites.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons Betting Lines
Point Spread: Los Angeles Lakers -7.5
Money Line: LA -330/ DET +270
Total: Over/Under 211
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons Injury Report
The Lakers were without LeBron James for the previous nine games but he played on Friday against the Celtics. He remains questionable for this matchup but anticipate him playing. Anthony Davis (thigh) is probable for this matchup, so expect to see the big man out there. Kendrick Nunn (knee) and Austin Reaves (hamstring) remain sidelined until next week.
Rookie SF Isaiah Livers remains sidelined with an injured foot, along with guard Chris Smith. Kelly Olynyk (knee) is out indefinitely.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons Preview
Lakers Welcome LeBon’s Return
The Lakers have been playing above-average basketball so far this year, albeit without their key centerpiece in LeBron James. Anthony Davis has been banged up as well, but he’s been playing through a lot of the soft-tissue injuries he would typically sit out of last season. He’s averaging 24.2 points and 10.9 rebounds. What’s troublesome is Los Angeles’ 112.3 points allowed per game, ranked 28th in the NBA.
Play through the contact 😤 pic.twitter.com/sxgVDMk1uf
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 20, 2021
James was averaging 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and seven assists before being sidelined. He returned to action against the Celtics on Friday scoring 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting and added six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The Lakers ended up losing the game, but LeBron looked like his usual self out there. He played 32 minutes, so Coach Vogel does not seem to be lessening his workload. Expect to see a springy LeBron on Sunday afternoon.
Pistons Hoping to Improve Offensive Output
Detroit cleaned house last season and began a long rebuild before acquiring the top pick in last year’s draft. Through the first month of the season, the Pistons are averaging a lackluster 98.2 points per game, ranked last in the NBA. They rank 28th in offensive rating (99.8) and dead last with a 50.8 true shooting percentage.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 20, 2021
The offensive numbers are ugly, but the future looks promising for Cade Cunningham and an extremely young Pistons squad. The first overall pick is averaging 13.7 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds through 10 games. There was a bit of an adjustment for Cade after his first two games, but the kiddo has seemingly found a nice groove. As the talent around him continues to evolve, expect his assists and rebounding numbers to trend up.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons Prediction and Picks
It’s always difficult gauging the Lakers and their chances, given their ambiguity regarding injuries. Nearly every single night, Anthony Davis and LeBron James are given questionable tags. Davis has been able to play through some of his nagging injuries, and LeBron returned to action on Friday. Expect to see both of them on the floor. Russel Westbrook will get a ton of action if either of them misses this game.
Either way, it won’t matter much against a young and shell-shocked Detroit team. The Pistons are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games facing Western Conference foes. Further, they are an unacceptable 2-10 in their last 12 home games. Anthony Davis will feast on a young Pistons frontcourt ranked 25th in rebounding percentage. Trust the Lakers to win and cover easily on the road.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons Totals Pick
The Lakers are second in pace through 17 games this year. One of the primary reasons why is Russel Westbrook handling point guard duties. We know Russ likes to run up and down the floor at a frantic pace, and with LeBron returning this is a good chance to hop on the Lakers’ projected total going way over. For some added juice, jack up the amount by a half-dozen points for a much more appealing odd against a deplorable Pistons team.
Source: Basketball Insider