LOS ANGELES -- They limited Richard Hamilton to 12 points. They got a combined 59 points from Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. And O'Neal had twice as many makes (eight) than misses (four) from the free-throw line.
And the Los Angeles Lakers still lost.
So, with the Detroit Pistons holding a 1-0 series lead after an 87-75 road victory, we asked some of our NBA analysts the following question:
What adjustment do the Lakers need to make in Game 2?
First and foremost, the Lakers need to defend better -- Detroit shot 46 percent from the field, which allowed them to control the tempo of the game. If the Lakers can't get out in transition, they will consequently struggle to score because Detroit is the NBA's best half-court defensive team. The Lakers also must do a better job of playing with energy. In Game 1, they didn't play with enough pace and all too often looked lethargic and disinterested. They need to turn it up a notch. Playing under constant duress employed from the Pistons' defense, the Lakers never looked comfortable.
Dr. Jack Ramsay
The Lakers need to get their offense going. They need to better handle the Pistons' defensive pressure and outlet the ball from the back to front court more quickly. Early in the second half of Game 1, the Lakers got the ball, made the pass in the backcourt to Shaq up high, and Kobe went back door and got a layup -- very basic, simple play but that's their game plan. They've got to stick to it. The Lakers will make more shots if they better their shot percentage and get more open looks.
In Game 1, the Pistons did a great job defensively. They decided they were going to guard Kobe and Shaq straight up, and did just that. They also took away the Lakers' 3-point shot. For the Lakers to recover, they need to get someone else involved offensively -- they can't rely on only Kobe and Shaq. They need a third guy to step up and get involved. If they can do that, they'll be all right.
Stephen A. Smith
The Lakers need to match Detroit's intensity. Derek Fisher and Kareem Rush need to get more involved from the perimeter, and Gary Payton and Karl Malone need to show they've got a pulse -- neither of them showed up in Game 1. Malone appeared tentative and Payton got too frustrated too early, which effected both of their games. The Lakers need these guys to contribute along with Fisher and/or Rush from the perimeter to recapture momentum in this series.