On paper, the Pistons aren’t an especially good team, but they matchup well with the Lakers because of their unique combination of size and skill in their frontcourt.
The Pistons are led by Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, who will indisputably be the first and second best players on the court on Wednesday since LeBron James is still sidelined with a groin strain.
On the season, Griffin and Drummond are averaging a combined 42.4 points and 23.4 rebounds per game. They’re one of the most productive frontcourt tandems in the NBA, if not the most productive.
So why aren’t the Pistons rolling through the Eastern Conference? Because outside of Griffin and Drummond, Detroit doesn’t have a ton of reliable threats offensively. It’s the reason they’re ranked 24th in the league in points per game and 23rd in offensive rating (105.9 points per 100 possessions).
The Pistons might have more star power than the Lakers do currently, but L.A. is a much deeper team even in spite of the injuries on the roster. As long as the Lakers’ starters do their job, the second unit should be able to build a comfortable lead.
The one thing the Lakers can’t afford to do is come out of the locker room with low energy. The Pistons are an active and scrappy team, especially on the offensive glass, where L.A. is arguably their weakest.
If the Lakers are playing at anything less than 100 percent, it’s not hard to imagine Detroit bullying their way to way an early lead.
You can watch all of the action live on ESPN and Spectrum SportsNet at 7:30 p.m. PST.