7:30 PM ET, November 29, 2013
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
Earlier in November Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers began their turnaround at the expense of the Detroit Pistons.
Tonight both players will try to get over .500 and cap their three-game road swing on a winning note by completing a sweep of their interconference series.
Having a hard time finding consistent offense as Kobe Bryant gets closer to returning from his Achilles injury, the L.A. team sputtered early in the NBA season, averaging 98.1 points while shooting 42.0 percent. Gasol contributed 13.1 points per game early but shot just 38.9 percent.
However, the Lakers (8-8) have scored 105.2 points per game in winning four of five, shooting 47.8 percent in that span. Gasol has exemplified that improved efficiency, averaging 18.8 points and making 52.5 percent of his shots while also averaging 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
The 33 year-old provided the inside presence in Los Angeles’ 99-94 victory versus the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, scoring 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Even so, Nick Young managed to produce a career-high 26 points and teamed with Jordan Farmer to hit nine of the Lakers’ 13 shots from 3-point range as the team overcame blowing a 27-point lead to get the win.
Gasol, who has averaged 17.8 points in 22 career games against Detroit, has recorded double-doubles in six straight when playing there.
Detroit (6-9) is quite aware about offensive inconsistency, unable to get a season-high third straight victory Wednesday after they were stifled 99-79 by the Chicago Bulls. Rodney Stuckey scored 25 off the bench, but the Pistons had only 26 second-half points and went scoreless over 10 possessions in a game-deciding 7:08 stretch of the fourth quarter.
Coach Maurice Cheeks chose to focus on his team’s defense at practice yesterday, and YouWager experts consider this a good more. Detroit is last in the NBA in defending inside the arc — allowing opponents to shoot 51.8 percent — and can be exploited by a savvy veteran like Gasol.
Los Angeles is going for their second straight season sweep of the Pistons after Jordan Hill had career highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds while Steve Blake had a season-best 16 assists in a 114-99 win Nov. 17.