Strong Finish Pulls Clippers Past Pistons

Rowan Kavner

Score: LAC 101 – DET 96

Synopsis: Missing their starting backcourt yet again, the Clippers needed something to break their two-game losing streak, be it a lift in energy or a standout performance from another guard.

They inserted Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup, and he provided both.

Crawford and Blake Griffin combined for 71 points, 17 assists and 14 rebounds for the Clippers (6-4) in a 101-96 win against an up-and-coming Pistons team (5-4), which started the season 5-1 before dropping their last three games.

Next Game: 11/19

Tipoff: 7:30pm PDT

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The Pistons came out scorching from the floor, particularly from deep, going 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Reggie Jackson and Ersan Ilyasova began the game a combined 8-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-5 from 3-point range. The only player off the mark early was Marcus Morris, who began the game 0-for-5 while the rest of Detroit’s lineup was 11-for-16. That allowed the Clippers to creep back in, going on a 10-0 run late in the quarter.

But that was short-lived, as the deficit went right back to double digits with the Pistons beginning the second quarter on a 10-2 run, starting 7-of-13 from 3-point range. That would eventually cease, as the Pistons would go 0-for-14 from three the rest of the night. In the second half, Crawford and Griffin outscored the Pistons by themselves, 43-36.

The Pistons still led the majority of the game, helped in large part by their domination on the glass early on, reeling in nine more rebounds and six more offensive rebounds than the Clippers in the first half. Doc Rivers joked before the game if the Clippers didn’t rebound better as a team and put bodies on the opponents’ bigs, Andre Drummond would end up with 40 boards.

It was going to be a tough assignment, as the Clippers allowed the sixth most offensive rebounds in the league and were playing a Pistons team grabbing more offensive boards than any team in the NBA. After all, Detroit had Drummond, who came in averaging 18.8 points and 19.3 rebounds per game.

It was going to be a tough assignment, as the Clippers allowed the sixth most offensive rebounds in the league and were playing a Pistons team grabbing more offensive boards than any team in the NBA, led by Drummond, who came in averaging 18.8 points and 19.3 rebounds per game.

Drummond was right around there again Saturday, finishing with 18 points and 19 boards. But DeAndre Jordan also added a double-double for the Clippers with 10 points and 16 rebounds, and by the end of the day, both teams had the same number of rebounds (42) and offensive boards (11). Griffin combatted what the Pistons did on the offensive glass, equaling Drummond with four offensive rebounds.

The defense tightened, the Clippers started protecting the glass and there was no answer down the stretch for Griffin or Crawford.

Key Moment: The end of the third quarter. The Clippers trailed by as many as 12 points in the quarter and ended up heading into the fourth with the lead, closing on a 22-8 run. It was still a 10-point deficit when Jamal Crawford hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Griffin scored the game’s next five points. At that point, the Clippers were right back in it.

Clippers Star: Jamal Crawford – He not only had it going; he did something only two other players have done this season in the NBA. Crawford joined James Harden and Russell Westbrook as the only three players with at least 37 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a game this season.

Pistons Star: Andre Drummond – The big man’s dominant start to the year continued. He was right around his average with 18 points and 19 rebounds. The only downside was his free throws, as the Clippers intentionally fouled him on occasion and he finished 6-of-14 from the line.

X-Factor: Blake Griffin – Crawford and Griffin could go in either order between star and X-factor here. But the Clippers needed Griffin when it mattered most, and he delivered. In addition to his 34 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Griffin hit a shot in the lane and a jumper in the final minute and a half to help put Detroit away.


DeAndre Jordan – I think in the first quarter, we let those guys get really comfortable. Our defense was not very good. Doc had other words to say about it. They hit five 3’s in the first quarter. They got comfortable and they got confident – fast. When you’re playing a team like that, a young team, it’s going to be tough. But, I feel like our defense really picked up at the end of the second quarter and in the second half. That’s what won us the game.”

Doc Rivers – “It was a lot of strategy (down the stretch). I can’t wait to watch it…I just loved our execution on both ends. The defensive execution, the switching and the talking, was as good as we’ve had this year.”

Blake Griffin – “A sense of urgency I think at the 3-point line (in the second half). Some of that resulted in fouls. I think I picked up two or three running Ilyasova off, but when you start like that you have to make adjustments. I thought we did a good job of making adjustments. They still got some, but we made it tougher for them overall. Our guards did a great job of getting into the ball.”

NOTES: J.J. Redick (back spasms) and Chris Paul (strained groin) both didn’t play … Doc Rivers said before the game their status going forward is “in limbo” … The Clippers changed up their starting lineup, putting Crawford, Austin Rivers and Paul Pierce with the starters … The Clippers are 9-0 in their last nine matchups against Detroit … Doc Rivers was whistled for a technical foul when he thought Drummond should’ve been called for his second foul early in the game and it went to Ilyasova … Ilyasova and Jackson had 20 points apiece for the Pistons … Luc Mbah a Moute was plus-12, trailing only Griffin for the top mark on the team despite playing just nine minutes …

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