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Preview: Lakers at Pistons

February 02, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Steve Blake pressures Brandon Knight during the Lakers' 108-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 4, 2012.
Steve Blake pressures Brandon Knight during the Lakers' 108-79 victory… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

After getting their first road victory of 2013 on Friday night, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 111-100, the Lakers will look to accomplish something else they haven't done in this season ... win two games in a row away from Staples Center.

To do so, they'll need to defeat the Pistons (18-29) in Detroit on Sunday morning.  In an early game (10 a.m. PST), the Lakers will need to make sure they're wide awake for a difficult Pistons squad. Detroit may not have an impressive overall record, but it is 14-11 at home.

Detroit recently traded Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye in a three-way deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors that landed Rudy Gay in Toronto and Jose Calderon in Detroit.

The Lakers always seem to struggle against Calderon, who may make his Pistons debut Sunday.

Dwight Howard is back with the Lakers after flying to Los Angeles to get a shoulder injury treated. After sitting out the game in Minnesota, Howard is expected to play against the Pistons.

Key matchup

Brandon Knight may slide over to two-guard to play alongside Calderon.  Rodney Stuckey can play either guard spot. The Lakers are usually weakest in the backcourt defensively.

The Pistons need to play fast and aggressive at guard, especially on dribble penetration and pick and roll. Knight is coming off a 20-point, 10-assist performance in a Detroit victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Whether it's as a scorer or distributor, Kobe Bryant should be able to attack the Pistons without Prince draped all over him. Prince has always been one of the better defenders on Bryant.

X-factor

Greg Monroe is one of the league's promising young big men, be it at center or power forward. He can score, rebound and pass. After a slow start this season, he's shooting 48.3% from the field.

How strong will Howard's shoulder be Sunday? The Lakers need Howard to be healthy for any sustained success.

Outlook

After losing their first three games of the regular season (after a 0-8 preseason), the Lakers pummeled the Pistons on Nov. 4.

Now at home, and with the addition of Calderon, the Pistons will be a much tougher challenge. The Lakers may find Detroit too tough to overcome to win their second game in a row on the road.

ALSO:

Lakers top Minnesota for first road win of 2013

Dwight Howard flying home for nonsurgical PRP procedure

Short list of players who fit within Lakers disabled player exception

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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