Expert Cappers Picks
National Basketball Association
Preview
Detroit at L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Lakers are still without superstar LeBron James, but Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are beginning to step up in his absence. Ingram and Ball will try to guide the Lakers to a second consecutive victory when they host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Los Angeles dropped five of six games after James (groin) went down on Christmas Day, leading to coach Luke Walton publicly challenging Ingram and Ball to play with more "passion." The pair combined for 13 points on 5-of-20 shooting in a 108-86 loss at Minnesota on Sunday but heard Walton's comments and spoke to each other after that dud, leading to a combined 50 points on 20-of-36 shooting in a 107-97 victory at Dallas to finish off the two-game road trip on Monday. The Pistons could stand to play with more passion themselves after dropping 14 of the last 18 games but are not ready to declare themselves out of the race in the Eastern Conference. "Believe me, we are nowhere near throwing in the towel yet," Detroit coach Dwane Casey told reporters. "Starting over, I have done that before and it took a little while. We are further ahead than that, but we are not a finished product and believe me we are not out of the playoff race yet, by any means. So, I haven't even thought about that."

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Detroit, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE PISTONS (17-21): Power forward Blake Griffin is playing in Los Angeles for the first time since the Los Angeles Clippers traded him away last season but is more concerned with the way his current team is playing. Detroit, which is beginning a four-game road trip against the Lakers, built first-quarter leads at home against Utah and San Antonio in the last two games only to falter in the second period and go on to lose. "It's been the last two games," Griffin told reporters. "I don't think that's our calling card. But there's nothing wrong with getting off to a hot start. I think our focus and intensity level has been very high the past two games and we need to be able to sustain that for a lot longer. We've just got to find a way, whether it's getting rest earlier or whatever it is, we've got to find a way."

ABOUT THE LAKERS (22-19): Ingram scored a season-high 29 points in Monday's triumph and made it clear that he and his coach have a strong relationship. "Me and Luke have numerous talks about numerous things," Ingram told reporters. "I think it's always motivational talks to see what I can do on the basketball floor. It's not just what he said to y'all, it's constant talk of how I can be better, how I can be more consistent. Whatever it is, I just try to take the challenge. Just try to be better." James will not play on Wednesday and remains out indefinitely, though he is expected to be examined again on Friday.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Pistons SF Stanley Johnson is 2-of-12 from the floor over the last three games, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range.

2. Lakers PF Kyle Kuzma (back) returned from a two-game absence on Monday and managed 13 points on 4-of-20 shooting.

3. The teams split two meetings last season, with each protecting home court.

PREDICTION: Lakers 116, Pistons 107
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Detroit 17-21 L2 11-10 6-11 1-5 16-16 4-4 12-16
L.A. Lakers 22-19 W1 13-8 9-11 2-2 20-17 5-2 16-13
Last Meeting
Detroit L.A. Lakers
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/26/18 LAL 106 DET 112 112 50 44.0 106 47 47.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Detroit R. Jackson 20 40.9 0
L.A. Lakers J. Randle 23 53.8 9
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Detroit A. Drummond 18 3 15
L.A. Lakers K. Kuzma 11 0 11
Assists Player  
Detroit S. Johnson 6
L.A. Lakers L. Ball 11
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Detroit B. Griffin 999 47.8 227
L.A. Lakers L. James 983 52.2 195
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Detroit A. Drummond 639 226 413
L.A. Lakers L. James 302 32 270
Assists Player  
Detroit B. Griffin 205
L.A. Lakers L. James 258
Quickchart Matchup
Detroit Detroit Off vs  L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Defense
Detroit Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points For 107.2 Points For
Detroit Off vs L.A. Lakers - Points Against 111.1 Points Against
Detroit - FG% 43.5 FG%
L.A. Lakers - FG% 44.6 FG%
Detroit - Reb 46.4 Reb
L.A. Lakers - Reb 47.1 Reb
L.A. Lakers L.A. Lakers Off vs  Detroit Detroit Defense
L.A. Lakers Off vs Detroit - Points For 112.2 Points For
L.A. Lakers Off vs Detroit - Points Against 109.7 Points Against
L.A. Lakers - FG% 47.3 FG%
Detroit - FG% 47.0 FG%
L.A. Lakers - Reb 46.7 Reb
Detroit - Reb 44.1 Reb