NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 10th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (25-22) at Detroit Pistons (28-19), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A rematch of the 2004 NBA Finals takes center stage tonight, when the defending champion Detroit Pistons host the Los Angeles Lakers at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Detroit shocked the world by taking four of five from the Lakers in last year's Finals. The Pistons ended the Lakers' dynasty, as Shaquille O'Neal has since been traded to Miami and Phil Jackson has exited stage left. Of course, there are rumors that Jackson could return to Los Angeles next season after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned due to stress and health concerns recently. Currently, the Lakers are relying on Frank Hamblen to handle their interim coaching duties.
Los Angeles, which is playing without Kobe Bryant due to a severely sprained ankle, put an end to a three-game skid on Wednesday with a 104-103 overtime victory over New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena. Jumaine Jones scored 20 points and Caron Butler added 19 in the victory.
Lamar Odom had a solid all-around game, collecting 16 points with 19 boards and eight assists for the Lakers, who gave Hamblen his first win at the helm. Chucky Atkins added 14 points, including several clutch baskets in regulation and overtime. Luke Walton ended with 17 points for the Lakers and Chris Mihm chipped in 10 points.
Atkins will see a lot of old friends tonight, as he spent three and a half season with Detroit from 2000-half of last season. The shooting guard is good friends with Ben Wallace.
Los Angeles improved to 28-0 since 1998 when they have six or more players in double figures.
The Lakers shot 43 percent from the field, including 9-of-23 (.391) from three-point range. Los Angeles drained 23-of-31 (.742) from the charity stripe.
Los Angeles, which is in the midst of a five-game road trip that ends in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, is 8-12 in foreign buildings. The Lakers have still lost six of their last nine road contests.
Detroit saw a five-game win streak come to an end on Saturday, as it fell 107-85 to the Nets at Continental Airlines Arena. Tayshaun Prince paced Detroit with 17 points. Antonio McDyess added 15 off the bench, while Ben Wallace contributed 13 points to go along with seven rebounds for the Pistons in the loss.
Rasheed Wallace chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds, while Richard Hamilton posted 11 points. Detroit hit 40.6 percent from the field, including 2-of-7 (.286) from three-point range. The Pistons drained 27-of-33 (.818) of their free throw attempts.
Lindsey Hunter (flu) did not play against the Nets, but is questionable for tonight's contest.
Detroit has won three straight home tilts to improve to 16-7 at the Palace this season. Tonight, the Pistons are opening up a three-game homestand that will include contests against Washington and Milwaukee.
Detroit sits in a tie with Cleveland atop the Central Division, while trailing East leader Miami by seven games.
These teams split a pair of regular season contests last season with the home team winning both games. The Lakers have won 10 of 12 and 17 of the last 20 regular season meetings between these clubs, but has dropped two straight at the Palace.
02/10 10:14:36 ET