Lakers - Pistons Preview: Whenever you're ready

What's it gonna be, Lakers?  Feel like trying tonight?  Ready to throw aside all your excuses and calm demeanor and actually play like this game means something?  Let's be clear, it doesn't mean anything.  You know it and I know it.  You could fail to show up tonight, lose again to a far inferior squad (and tonight's is by far the inferiorist that you've seen in this swoon), get booed again by the same fanbase to whom you have delivered two straight championships, and know that you deserve those jeers.  You could take it to the next level and just literally stand in one spot for 6 to 8 minutes at a time instead of going through the hassle of walking up and down the court.  It won't really change a thing.  Maybe PJ should just have the Lakers forfeit a couple games straight up so that you don't waste your energy. You'll still make the playoffs.  You'll still be favorites in some people's eyes. 

But you sure as hell won't be the favorites in anybody's hearts.  Oh sure, this fanbase bleeds purple and gold now as much as they ever did.  Your run of poor play won't change that either.  We're with you until the end, for better or worse, until death do us part.  Would it kill you to at least try to put some stuff in the better column?  It'd be nice if you could give us a whole game, but I'm a realist.  I'll settle for a couple of quarters, and a strong close out, just like you used to do.  You know what they say ... seven minutes of heaven may not be much, but its better than zero.  Actually, I don't know anybody that says that, and I don't want to.  Acceptance of mediocrity is depressing.  So is the knowledge that mediocrity would be an improvement.

That team you are playing tonight?  Well, you aren't going to believe this, but they aren't very good.  The whole losing 2 out of 3 schtick that you've been messing around with has been their whole season.  Just like a lot of the teams you've played so far this season.  Just like a lot of the teams that you've been losing to this season.  So maybe, when you look across the court and see a bunch of ill-fitting has been's and never was's, maybe just pretend you take them seriously.  Pretend they are the Spurs ... nevermind, bad example.  Pretend they are the ... the ... wow, you aren't beating very many good teams, so I don't really have an example here.  Just pretend.  Every relationships needs a little bit of role playing now and then, to keep things fresh, and believe me when I say, this fanbase is in desparate need of a little freshness.

Once upon a time, the Detroit Pistons were the final straw that broke a potential dynasty's back.  Only a couple of you were around to remember that.  Actually, you two are the only ones I'm not worried about not caring, so forget I said anything, lest you try to do too much.  For the rest of you, perhaps you can take motivation in beating a team that is so, so ugly.  Tayshaun Prince is the personification of a gorilla.  Actually, it might be the other way around, I'm not sure.  Rip Hamilton continues to soldier on with that plastic mask on his face.  And Charlie Villanueva, well, he's already been covered by KG, with all the tact and political savvy of a war criminal.  Sorry, I know that was kind of messed up, but it was all in the name of comparing KG to a war criminal.  So if you need motivation, think of him.  And war criminals.  They both suck.

OK, let's talk strategy, guys.  See their roster?  Ben Wallace is their center.  That's funny, because he's  6'9".  Now look at the rest of their roster.  That's right, Ben Wallace isn't just their starting center, he's their only center.  And he's not actually a center.  They also are the worst rebounding team in the league.  I'm no expert on correlation and causation or anything, but there might just be something to that. You start more centers than they can even pretend to have.  I think you see where I'm going with this. 

I've provided some stats below, so please take a look.  You can see that the Pistons are good at just about nothing.  They rank 5th in offensive turnover rate, which is better than you because lately it's been easier to take the ball away from you on offense than it is for Dex to bed a baby boomer.  You have truly proven old agage true that it is tough to win when you keep punching yourself in the face.  So stop punching yourself.  Punch Rip Hamilton.  That's what the mask is for.  They also shoot pretty well from outside.  Those are the only two categories on offense or defense in which they rank in the top 10, and despite both factors, they are still in the bottom third of the league on offense.  They are even worse on defense, currently 25th out of 30 teams.

So to review, this team is bad on offense, terrible on defense, they have no centers, and don't give any significant minutes to anybody over 6'9".  You start two centers, have a third big off the bench who might be the best bench player in the league, and he is still taller than their entire roster.  If you really wanted to, you could probably hold them to zero rebounds for the first time in the history of the NBA.  There is no possible way for you to lose this game tonight, save one, so do me a favor.

Try not to be such an expert on that method of losing.

Lakers

Pistons

RECORD

23-11

11-23

NET POINTS PER GAME

+5.6 (4)

-4.5 (23rd)

PACE

93.1 (14)

89.1 (29)

OFFENSIVE RATING

110.9 (5)

105.1 (20)

Turnover Rate (Off.)

13.3% (9)

12.9% (5)

FTA/FGA (Off.)

0.23 (12)

0.21 (27)

Free-Throw %

79.4 (4)

73.8 (25)

3PT FGA/FGA (Off.)

 0.235 (11)

0.198 (23)

3PT% (Off.)

37.2 (10)

39.3 (3)

Effective FG% (Off.)

50.6 (10)

48.8 (17)

True Shooting% (Off.)

55.1 (11)

52.8 (20)

Off Rebounding Rate

29.4% (6)

25.4% (16)

DEFENSIVE RATING

105 (12)

110.1 (25)

Turnover Rate (Def.)

12.9% (25)

14.1% (12)

FTA/FGA (Def.)

0.19 (2)

0.23 (15)

3PT FGA/FGA (Def.)

24.7 (24)

21.9 (14)

3PT% (Def.)

 33.3 (3)

35.9 (15)

Effective FG% (Def.)

47.8 (5)

52.0 (27)

True Shooting% (Def.)

51.7 (4)

56.0 (25)

Def Rebounding Rate

72.0% (24)

72.2% (23)

All numbers courtesy of Basketball Reference and HoopData.

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