With the Lakers heading east for a three-game road trip, we took a look at both the team’s progress in recent weeks and Tuesday night’s matchup with the Pistons through some numbers:
1 L.A.’s league-wide rank in field goal percentage defense, tying Philadelphia at 41.7%, spurred by some excellent defense through a five-wins-in-six-games stretch. The Lakers also lead the league in rebounding at 45.76 per game, paced by Andrew Bynum (12.8, 3rd in the NBA) and Pau Gasol (10.4, 9th).
2 Members of the 2004 title-winning Pistons currently on L.A.’s coaching staff. John Kuester was an assistant coach who went on to serve as head coach from 2009-11, while Darvin Ham was a reserve big man.
5 Consecutive wins over the Pistons for the Lakers, who have won three straight at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
7 L.A.’s rank in field goal percentage in the league, a number that has been steadily rising for weeks as Mike Brown has loosened the reigns on the offense, and the Lakers have figured out how they want to attack teams. “We’re a low-post team,” said Kobe Bryant after L.A.’s win over Miami. “We’re not a screen-roll team. We don’t do that. That’s not (our strength) … The real test for any championship team is to understand what your weaknesses are and cover those, and understand what your strengths are and play to those.”
9 Home wins for the Pistons (9-11), who have really struggled on the road (3-15) but played pretty well in their own building.
16.7 Points averaged by big man Greg Monroe to lead the Pistons. He’s been their best player all season, and also leads the team in rebounds (10.1), steals (1.29) and field goal percentage.
20.2 Points averaged in his last nine games for Rodney Stuckey despite tallying a goose egg at Toronto (Feb. 22). He’s been far better of late for the Pistons after an injury-hampered start. A score-first combo guard, Stuckey does lead Detroit in assists with an average of 3.8 per game.
30.0 The Pistons have a small line up, with Monroe slightly undersized at center and Jason Maxiell playing PF; in related news, Detroit ranks 30th in the NBA on the defensive glass, and this with Bynum and Gasol coming to town. They also don’t block any shots, ranking last there as well, while the Lakers come in having fewer of their shots blocked than any other team.
34 Points per game averaged by Kobe Bryant since breaking his nose and suffering a concussion at the All-Star game. He’s OK at scoring. #MaskedMamba
37.5 Miami’s field goal percentage against the Lakers, leading to only 83 points, their second lowest output of the season.
40.9 Rookie Brandon Knight’s shooting percentage. While he’s been generally impressive for head coach Lawrence Frank, Knight has been inefficient on offense, and with fellow starter Stuckey hitting only 41.7% of his shots, Detroit has had a problem getting a high return on shot attempts from the back court. Motown’s team ranks just 25th in the NBA in FG%, and only one team allows a higher FG% to opponents.
47.5 FG% for Metta World Peace in his last 10 games, including 44.4% from three. World Peace went for 17 points on 6-of-10 field goals against Miami, his highest scoring output since the season’s second game at Sacramento (19 points). His defense has also picked up as he’s gotten into shape, highlighted by a season high four steals against Miami while holding LeBron James (55% FG’s on the season) to 12-of-26 FG’s.