Detroit Pistons (5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7-3 SU, 3-7 ATS), 10:30 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 17, 2009, Staples Center, Los Angeles, Ca.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Pistons +10/Lakers -10
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Two of the best NBA teams of this decade meet in Los Angeles, as the Lakers host the Detroit Pistons.
Despite all of the success for the Pistons this decade, they are in a different place right now than the Lakers, the defending NBA champions. The Pistons re-tooled during the offseason and brought in Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and the return of Ben Wallace. A team that used to belong to Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince now belongs to Rodney Stuckey and Gordon, although Hamilton and Prince are still key players for Detroit. Hamilton scored 25 points in the opening game of the season, but he injured his ankle and hasn’t played since then. Prince played the first three games of the season and injured his back, so he hasn’t played since then as well.
With Pau Gasol being injured, the Lakers have lost a few games and haven’t been as impressive thus far as expected. But they have gotten a huge bonus from the play of Andrew Bynum, who has the potential to be a top five center if he can stay healthy. Bynum is averaging 20.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, which are definitely all-star caliber numbers. If he plays this well all season long, even when Gasol comes back, the Lakers will dominate this season. Kobe Bryant is doing his thing with 30.1 points per game. It’s nothing new for Kobe, just the same old incredible play from him. In a four-game span in the first week of November, he scored 41 points in three of the four games. He had his season low against the Houston Rockets on Sunday with 18 points on 5-for-20 shooting. Ron Artest and Lamar Odom have both done a nice job complimenting Kobe. Artest is averaging 12.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists, but his biggest asset is his defensive ability. Odom’s scoring is down with 10.1 points per game, but his rebounds and assists are up. He is averaging 8.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
Gordon was going to originally come off the bench, like he did for the Chicago Bulls, but he has started every game but the first one after Hamilton went down with his injury. Gordon is leading the team in scoring with 22.4 points per game. Stuckey, who is averaging 17 points, six rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, combines with Gordon to make a versatile, strong backcourt for the Pistons. Both players can handle the ball or play off the ball and handle the scoring load. Both players can shoot from outside or score around the rim. Villanueva has been a sound investment thus far with 16.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game at the power forward spot. With Hamilton and Prince out, Will Bynum has stepped up big-time off the bench, averaging 14 points and 4.2 assists per game. His best game of the season was the last game, a 95-90 loss to the Mavericks, when he scored 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, had three assists and no turnovers. Wallace has only scored 3.9 points per game, but he has rejuvenated himself a little bit with 9.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
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Three of the last four games have gone under for the Pistons. The last three games for the Lakers have gone over. The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games. The Lakers and Pistons split their two games last year with each winning by double digits on the road.
Ryno’s Pick: The Pistons have some quality players this year but they are still figuring out how to play well together. With Hamilton and Prince out, it really hurts their chances against a top tier team like the Lakers. With Hamilton and Prince out, Kobe will have a size advantage over whoever guards him. Whether it’s Stuckey or Gordon, Kobe should have a strong offensive game. Wallace is a terrific defender down low, but Bynum has been playing very well and he has a few inches on Wallace. It’s hard to give the Pistons an advantage at any position other than at point guard, where Stuckey, Gordon and Bynum will all have a quickness and athleticism advantage over Derek Fisher. At home, the Lakers will win this one easily. Take the Lakers.