Howard may return when Lakers take on Pistons

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their "Grammy" road trip Sunday afternoon when they visit The Palace at Auburn Hills to face the Detroit Pistons.

The Lakers always venture out on a long trek in late January/early February as the Staples Center hosts the Grammy awards. They are 1-1 thus far on the excursion.

The Lakers hope to get Dwight Howard back on Sunday afternoon. He missed L.A.'s victory Friday over the Minnesota Timberwolves due to his nagging shoulder injury. Howard flew back to Los Angeles, received platelet-rich plasma therapy, and flew to Detroit on Saturday.

Howard is listed as a game-time decision. Head coach Mike D'Antoni certainly wants his All-Star center back considering the way he dominated the Pistons earlier this season. On Nov. 4, in L.A., Howard went off for 28 points on 12- for-14 shooting.

But, if Howard can't go, at least D'Antoni can finally show some faith in Pau Gasol. Re-inserted in the starting lineup to replace Howard, Gasol scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in just over 37 minutes of Friday's 111-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I thought he looked good. He moves the ball. It's a different look for us," D'Antoni said of Gasol. "I thought he has played well the whole time. I haven't remembered in the last six games where he has played bad. I think he is in a rhythm; I think he's good."

Kobe Bryant continued his effort as facilitator with 17 points, 12 boards and eight assists, which marked the first time in his career he handed out eight assists or more in five straight games.

Earl Clark had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison all scored in double figures.

The Pistons still may not have the services of their newly-acquired point guard, Jose Calderon. The former Toronto Raptors leader has had visa issues and has not been cleared to practice or play.

"They just told me they'll let me know," head coach Lawrence Frank said. "He can't do anything. He can have a pad. He can take notes. I stay away from it. When they tell me, 'Don't touch him,' I don't touch him. We can talk to him. This is like NCAA recruiting - the legal way."

Frank also noted he didn't think it would take Calderon to get acclimated to the Pistons schemes. Detroit didn't miss him on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Pistons walloped the Cavs, 117-99, scored 63 points in the second half and had three quarters with over 30 points.

"We have a lot of young guys on our team, so our focus first is to get stops and secondly to get on the break and run and push the ball," said Rodney Stuckey. "We did a good job doing that tonight and I hope that we can continue to do that."

Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler paced the Pistons with 20 points apiece. Greg Monroe notched a huge double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Stuckey, Will Bynum and Charlie Villanueva each cracked the 10-point mark.

The Lakers have won six of the last seven meetings, but are just 3-7 in their last 10 in Detroit.