Three things to know: Lakers vs. Pistons 11-18-22


After picking up a well-deserved win over the Nets that ended their 5-game losing streak last Sunday, the well-rested Lakers (3-10) take on the Pistons (3-13) on Friday night. Game tips at 7:30 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet and 710 ESPN radio.

Here are three things to know before the game:

After missing the previous two games due to his strained adductor, LeBron James was upgraded to “doubtful” against the Pistons. LeBron participated in non-contact training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, which is good news in his progress towards an early return to training.

As LeBron progresses, Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant have been fully removed from the injury report and are set to make their first regular season appearances after undergoing UCL repair procedures in October. Coach Ham notes that he expects both to see minutes against Detroit, which should provide additional depth and balance to the team’s rosters.

As for what the two players can bring to their respective returns, after practice on Thursday Schröder said he intends to “do the little things that lead to victory” including picking up 94 feet. defensively and getting into the paint offensively. Bryant, meanwhile, offers another front-row player who can allow the team to play larger lineups, both in tandem with LeBron and Anthony Davis or, potentially, playing alongside the two in lineups. jumbo size.

Anthony Davis’ dominating performance against the Nets was his last of a season where he sought to absolutely control the painted zone offensively.

Against the Nets, 23 of AD’s 25 shot attempts were in the paint, with 15 of those shots coming straight to the basket. That continues a season trend for Davis who hit 51.4% of his field goal attempts in the restricted area. If that number continues throughout the season, it would be the highest mark in AD’s tenure with the Lakers, surpassing last season’s strong performance (43.7%) and eclipsing his first two seasons with the Lakers. team (38.2% and 28.1% respectively).

To put his paint-focused offense in more perspective, only 15.4% of his shots have come from the midrange this season – his lowest rating in the last 5 seasons – and he takes the least 3 points per game since his first three seasons in the league. Instead, he turns those shot attempts into inside looks. On the season, AD ranks 4th in the NBA in points scored in the paint per game (16.7), 3rd in shots attempted from within 5 feet (10.0), and out of 10 players who have attempted at least 95 shots in the restricted area his shot percentage of 72.7% ranks 3rd.

After a tough loss to the Clippers in which they led most of the 2nd half on Thursday night, the Pistons are not only short on rest, but shorthanded due to injury. Cade Cunningham (shin) and Isaiah Stewart (toe) are both out, leaving them without two key starters and, in Cunningham, their top playmaker and young leader.

Playing with that kind of rest and (relative) health advantage should provide the Lakers with the opportunity to challenge the Pistons’ ability to play not just the mental and physical fatigue that comes from playing in a back-to-back, but their resilience after a loss. where they clearly played well enough to win but stalled in the streak.

Offensively, that translates to a combination of picking up the pace and looking for transition opportunities as often as possible, but when the game slows down, play with Anthony Davis in the position. The Pistons, who rank 30th in total defense, allow the 5th most field goal attempts in the restricted area and rank 5th in the NBA in points allowed in the paint. If the Lakers can get easy baskets in transition and then work with Davis in the half court to establish the inside early, it can lead to positive possessions at that end.

Defensively, one point Coach Ham has continued to stress to his team is to challenge clean shots. This will be especially important against the Pistons who lead the league in total free throws attempted and made per game. Nor is it the case of a single high-volume player skewing their attempt totals. At least six Pistons attempt more than two FTs per game, reflecting a group that thrives on attacking the paint and looks to play a physical brand of basketball overall.

From an individual game perspective, the Lakers will need to keep track of Bojan Bogdanovic, who the Pistons acquired via trade from the Jazz last offseason. Bogdanovic is Detroit’s leading scorer, averaging 20.1 points per night on the 50/41/87 shooting splits.

Bogdanovic is especially dangerous working off the ball for his jumper, taking almost seven 3-pointers per game and then leveraging that gravity to attack the fences and take uncontested shots from midrange. To further illustrate the point, one nuance in 10 of Bogdanovic’s 13 FGAs comes after taking two or less dribbles, while half of his shots come after holding the ball for less than two seconds. Staying connected to him and forcing him to create his own rebound shot is easier said than done, but it’s a recipe for more success against him by taking him out of his comfort zone.


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