LOS ANGELES (TICKER) —The Los Angeles Lakers try to record a sixth straight victory and extend the Detroit Pistons’ season-high losing streak to five games when they match up at the Staples Center on Thursday.
The Lakers have won five games in a row and 12 of 14 to move into seventh place in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games behind sixth-place Utah.
On Tuesday, the Lakers defeated Staples Center co-tenant the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-98, to improve to 3-0 on their four-game homestand.
Shaquille O’Neal scored 33 points and Kobe Bryant 32 in the triumph. Bryant had scored at least 40 points in nine straight games - the best streak in franchise history and tied for the third-best in NBA history - and at least 35 points in 13 straight.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson missed the first game of his career to recuperate from surgery to remove a kidney stone on Monday. It is uncertain whether he will return to the bench for Thursday’s game. Assistant Jim Cleamons took over the team on Tuesday and would lead the squad on Thursday if Jackson were to sit out.
The Pistons fell to 0-2 on their five-game Western road trip with an 81-75 setback at Sacramento on Tuesday.
Detroit, which is playing its fifth game in seven days, is percentage points ahead of New Jersey for the best record in the Eastern Conference and one-half game in front of Indiana in the Central Division.
The Lakers have won eight straight over the Pistons since a 100-97 setback in double overtime here on January 19, 1997. Los Angeles has taken the last four meetings here.