The Los Angeles Lakers look to right their ship tonight as they host the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center. The Lakers have lost four of their last six games, with all four losses by at least 15 points, so the evidence of a slump is readily apparent. However, they are still 23-11, which is still a 55-win pace, so it's hard to press the panic button just yet. Two championships and three straight NBA Finals appearances tend to earn a little leeway. However, given the way the team has played in the last two weeks, there is cause for concern.
Pau Gasol, for instance, needs to get more involved in the offense, and he needs to play better as well. Gasol, who averages 14 shots per game on the season, has attempted just 34 shots in the last four games. It's not just about shot attempts for Gasol, either. Getting the ball to him in the paint opens up the offense, since Pau is a skilled passer who can find teammates either cutting to the basket or with an open jump shot. However, Gasol had a miserable game against the Grizzlies on Sunday night. He had 10 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes, but didn't get to the free throw line, had no assists, and committed five turnovers. The better Gasol plays and the more he is involved, the more efficient the Lakers offense will become.
The Lakers have beaten the Pistons in their last four meetings, including a 103-90 win on November 17. They have beaten Detroit in eight of their last 11 games at Staples Center. Tonight's game is the first game of back-to-back games, with the Lakers traveling to Phoenix to battle the Suns on Wednesday.
For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.