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Lakers vs. Pistons Preview: Can L.A. please stop embarrassing themselves?

The purple and gold have a real opportunity to look good against a struggling and rebuilding Detroit Pistons team.

Los Angeles Lakers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

After their latest embarrassing loss — this time at the hands of the Boston Celtics by 22 points on Friday — there’s really no excuse to make for the Lakers at this point. The purple and gold were whooped, exposed and sent out of T.D. Garden with no Lakers pride in them or whatsoever. Friday’s game revealed their flaws on the defensive end, poor offensive execution, lack of ability to rebound the ball and their unknown team identity. AKA the same problems they’ve had all year.

The Lakers are currently ranked 25th in the league on both offense (104.8) and defense (110.8), according to Cleaning the Glass. They have yet to win a game by more than 14 points this season — and yes, this includes against lottery teams who are way less talented than them.

And despite being served multiple slices of humble pie losses to start the season, L.A. has yet to show any meaningful improvement in really any area.

Thankfully, the purple and gold have another opportunity to correct their mistakes and look good (at least for one night) against a struggling and rebuilding Detroit Pistons team that has lost 11 out of their first 15 games this season. There is absolutely no reason for the Lakers (with or without LeBron James) to fumble this game. The only way the Lakers can really lose is it is if they allow themselves to.

L.A.’s talent alone should be let them dominate this matchup from start to finish. Why? Because the Pistons are currently ranked 30th in the league in points per game (98.2) and are also dead last in 3-pointers made and rebounds per game (42.4). Detroit’s young players like Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are still finding their way in the league, and the Lakers’ defense, physicality and experience should overwhelm these players from the opening-tip.

Moreover, L.A. also has to show why Detroit is currently seventh in the league in turnovers per game (14.8 per game), and take advantage of their miscues to get the transition baskets this team needs so desperately. Additionally on the defensive side, it would be great if the Lakers show more improvement on boxing out and communicating otherwise, the worst offensive team in the league will embarrass them for the fourth straight game in a row.

Speaking of improvement, maybe this is the game where the Lakers finally dominate the quarter after halftime, because the only team that’s worse than them in the third period this season are the Pistons. L.A. really needs to take control of this game from start to finish to gain their confidence back, build momentum, and snap their current three-game losing streak because the next few weeks aren’t going to be any easier for the purple and gold.

Notes and Updates

  • Trevor Ariza (right ankle injury recovery), Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise) and Austin Reaves (hamstring injury) are still out.
  • LeBron James said he felt “okay” after his first game back from an abdominal strain injury. He also mentioned that he will see how he feels in the morning to determine his status moving forward.
  • Detroit’s Killian Hayes aggravated his left hand injury in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Friday and could miss some time.
  • Around the league, it’s important to note that both the Lakers’ nemesis in the Western Conference are on a roll as the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are on a 11 and 3-game winning steaks, respectively. Maybe if the Lakers keep this in mind, they’ll be pressured to get things in order.

It’s an early start for the purple and gold on Saturday as the Lakers and Pistons will tip-off at 3 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani.

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