Opponent Scouting: LA Lakers. 3-16.
Tonight at 6:00pm EST. The Lakers will travel to the Palace to play the Pistons. The game will wrap up a 4 game home stand for the Pistons in what better be an easy win to make a 4 game winning streak. And I say 'better be' because the Lakers freaking suck, like next level suck. And the Pistons already lost to them once this year, and there are all the typical regular season excuses that can be thrown at that loss (back to back, end of long road trip etc.) HOWEVA, none of those excuses are valid for this game and even if that game was just a fluke, if it happens twice it might not be such a fluke. Pistons gotta clean house tonight. Not that it matters though, the whole game will probably mostly be people talking about Kobe.
The them: The Lakers suck. Like there is no way around that. 2nd worst DefRtg. (106.9) in the NBA, and the 3rd worst OffRtg. (96.6) They are not Sixers bad, but those are horrible numbers. Kobe is still, somehow, allowed to be the team's leading scorer. Scoring 16.6ppg on 30%(!) shooting from the field, and just 22% from 3. But it's ok because he is only shooting 8(!!!!) 3s per game./s And while I don't really mind all the fanfare he is getting (because I generally wish people were able to put aside their hate of some players/teams and just appreciate how freaking good they are a little bit more) but sorry Kevin Durant. Everyone is making fun of Kobe because he freaking sucks. Beyond the Kobe show however, there is some hope for the future, but not much for now. Right now Jordan Clarkson at least appears to be for real, Lou Williams has struggled a bit but he's got enough of a track record that I wouldn't worry too much about it. And, um, Roy Hibbert proved last time these teams played that he's still huge enough to occasionally do good things. Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell are having typical young dude struggles, but have both looked ok. In particular, Russell has been doing better after a really bad start. Larry Nance Jr. occasionally posterizes someone. I don't know man, I'm looking at this team trying to figure out how they beat the Pistons last time, and how they might beat them again, and I just can't see it. The only reason they have any chance is that the Pistons are not really good, just pretty good, so its more likely that the Pistons will just have an off night.
Matchups to Watch:
Kobe vs. Zero craps to give: Kobe inexplicably started playing facilitator for the Lakers last time they played the Pistons, but I would not expect that again. Kobe does not give a single crap, he's pulling up for damn near half court shots, shooting 8 threes per game. And he can't hit anything. There is a certain beauty to the fall though.
Andre vs. Everyone: Hibbert did give Andre some trouble last game (and I admittedly undersold Hibbert for my part) but the reality is, that Andre still had 17 and 17 at the end of the game. Andre should do even better tonight. And the reality is that the Lakers don't really have anyone else who should stand much of a chance against him. I would like to see Byron Scott try his own version of small ball with Brandon Bass at center while Andre is on the floor, that might be funny.
Pistons vs. Not playing like crap: Seriously, the Lakers suck. If the Pistons lose again they have no excuse, it is just because they played like absolute crap. Don't play like absolute crap please.
KCP vs. Clarkson: Clarkson has (pretty easily) been the Lakers best player so far and despite the horrible team he is on, is putting up some very good and efficient numbers. (16ppg on 47%) KCP will (probably) get the bulk of time on him, and it will be important that Clarkson is forced into a bad night. If Clarkson is off then the Lakers literally have no good source of consistent offense. KCP has looked a bit tired lately, but he played less minutes against the Bucks and also had the day off yesterday. As such fatigue should theoretically not play any sort of role there.
PnR vs. Crappy defense: The Jackson/Drummond PnR seems to be settling into a groove lately, and the Lakers are horrible on defense. With the way Jackson has been seeing the floor and slicing up defenses lately, I would imagine a big night tonight for Jackson.
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Kobe is bricking 35ft shots.
Reggie looks like some ungodly combination of Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook against the crappy defense.
Andre is being Andre.
Clarkson is not scoring well against KCP.
Run for the hills if:
Clarkson is scoring a lot.
The Pistons do not jump out to a comfortable lead and keep it all game.
Oppoutunities for me to look stupid:
Jackson goes off for a big night.
Ersan scores 20+ points on mostly open 3s.
KCP looks godly on D again.
Pistons win comfortably for a nice boring basketball game.
I mean, this is about Kobe. That's the reality. And it is all anyone will talk about the whole game, especially if it does go the way of a blowout. It is a little ridiculous to me the amount of fanfare, but the reality is that I would rather a legend of the game get too much fanfare than too little. I do think it would have been kind of funny if the Pistons had decided to retire a jersey tonight though as a bit of a middle finger to Kobe because lets be real, there are no warm feelings between Kobe and the Pistons. Still though, a great career that a horrible ending cannot ruin.
What do you think? Do like the Kobe fanfare? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!
P.S. I already screwed up the twitter. I did not even bother to actually look at my account. It is not joetruck229. It is @Joe_Truck and I will be tweeting about thee game tonight so if you want to follow someone who hasn't the faintest idea what he is doing, go follow me.