Game: Lakers (21-26) at Detroit Pistons (18-29)
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills
When: 10 a.m. PST
TV: Time Warner Cable SportsNet
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The pain still bothers Dwight Howard.
The Lakers center won’t play today against the Detroit Pistons a day after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) procedure on his aggravated labrum of his right shoulder. Even if he could become an increased target for opponents to physically rattle him, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want him to hold anything back.
“It’s extremely sore all over,” Howard said. After the procedure, it was real stiff. There’s nothing I can do about it right now.
He also remained unsure if he will play Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
“We’ll see how it feels,” Howard said. “Right now, we’ll take it day by day. I have a couple days in New York to get rest and get it as strong as possible. The main thing for the rest of the season I don’t want to have this happen every week or two where I’m fine and then I have to take a hard hit.”
With Howard’s absence, Pau Gasol will start for the second consecutive game. During his absence, Gasol posted 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, 12 rebounds and three blocks in the Lakers’ 111-100 victory Friday over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Beyond Howard’s return, the Lakers are concerned about compiling wins. They’re playing their fourth consecutive team that boasts a sub. 500 record. They’ve gone 2-1 in that stretch, but that doesn’t come with guarantees.
The Lakers have coughed up double digit leads in all three outings, including a 13-point cushion that resulted in a loss at Phoenix. The Lakers also nearly squandered leads against New Orleans (22 points) and Minnesota (29), respectively.
But the Lakers shouldn’t have a problem with Detroit. The Pistons, after all, were the lone team that Mike Brown beat this season before his firing.
Detroit lost five of their last seven games. Detroit ranks 22nd in total offense (95.02 points per game) and 16th in field-goal percentage (44.6 percent). It also remains to be seen how quickly Jose Calderon will make an impact in his debut after the Pistons acquired him from Toronto Wednesday in a three-team deal that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis. Calderon will start at point guard, pushing Brandon Knight at shooting guard.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant will continue his quest as a facilitator. He has barely missed triple-doubles in four of the five games when he’s been a passer. Bryant has also averaged at least eighth assists in those games, the longest stretch of his career.
“He’s trying to figure out how to win,” D’Antoni said. “This path should do. We’re all excited and he’s excited about playing this way.”
Lakers star Kobe Bryant adjusts to being facilitator
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