Kobe Bryant has been asked to pass more throughout his 16-year career. It seems he's finally taking the advice.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar shooting guard has averaged more than 11 assists in the Lakers last five games, and they’ve gone 4-1 in that stretch.
Bryant and the 21-26 Lakers meet the Detroit Pistons Sunday afternoon at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Point guard Steve Nash and Bryant combined for 34 points and 15 assists in the Lakers 111-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday. Much-maligned power forward Pau Gasol netted 22 points along with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
It was the eighth double-double of the season for Gasol, whose dealt with numerous trade rumors and been blamed for much of the Lakers losing woes. Last season, the Spaniard was third in the NBA with 42 double-doubles.
Forward Earl Clark continued his breakout season by chipping in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
It will L.A.’s second straight game without stud center Dwight Howard, who re-aggravated what is now a chronic shoulder injury last week. Gasol may have found some extra room in the pain with Howard sitting on the bench.
The Lakers meet a Detroit club that is still in rebuilding mode, but appears to have found their big man tandem for the next 10 seasons in center Greg Monroe and rookie Andre Drummond.
Now in his second season out of Georgetown, Monroe leads the Pistons with 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Drummond’s stellar January of 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest, along with thunderous finishes around the basket, have Detroit fans clamoring for head coach Lawrence Frank to up his minutes to more than the 20 Drummond is averaging.
Detroit is fresh off a 117-99 beat down of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with point guard Brandon Knight scoring 20 points and dropping 10 assists, and Monroe ripping 16 rebounds to go with his 18 points.
Betting Odds: Los Angeles is is favored by 2.5 points
Over/Under: 201 points
Prediction: Drummond and Monroe have the potential to overpower the Lakers thin front court. But Bryant and Nash should dominate the game from the perimeter in an L.A. victory.
Predicted Score: Los Angeles 101, Detroit 92