GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. PISTONS - 1/20/14
Game #43 | January 20, 2014
The Palace of Auburn Hills | Detroit, MI
Dennis Rogers/Los Angeles Clippers
DETROIT - Just two days after facing the Indiana Pacers, one of the bigger teams in the league with center Roy Hibbert and forward David West, the Clippers took on an even bigger team in the Detroit Pistons.
Boasting 6-11 center Andre Drummond, 6-11 forward Greg Monroe and 6-9 Josh Smith, it is no wonder the Pistons entered Monday ranked first in the league in points in the paint. That focus helped the Clippers pay close attention to the paint and cruise to a 112-103 win over the Pistons in an afternoon tilt on MLK Day at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
“It’s a concern, but we’re not going to grow, Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers said pregame. “I can guarantee that. They are going to be bigger than us before the game, during the game and after the game, so it is going to have to be a team effort.”
The Clippers took that to heart, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in particular. Griffin and Jordan combined for 19 first quarter points on 9-12 FG, six of them dunks and all nine field goals in the paint. In fact, the Clippers had 20 of their 26 first quarter points in the paint.
“I was really proud of the way we played tonight, our big guys played great and DJ was the anchor on the defense end tonight,” Rivers said of Jordan who finished with 16 points and tied a season-high with 21 rebounds.
The dominance in the paint in the first quarter forced the Pistons to alter their defense, thus allowing the outside looks in the second quarter. JJ Redick scored nine early points and Jamal Crawford had five as the team went on a 14-2 run to open up a 40-33 lead and they never looked back.
At halftime, the Clippers led 64-33 over the Pistons, Griffin had 21 points and four assists while Jordan had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The dunking continued in the third quarter as both Griffin and Jordan had explosive dunks that got the Palace crowd to its feet. The high-flying act and two four-point plays by Redick helped extend the Clippers lead to 94-78 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The particular Jordan dunk was an alley oop from Redick that Jordan jumped so high his chin appeared to touch the rim.
“I was happy with our performance tonight, we had a great team effort,” Griffin said. “DJ was very active tonight and that is what we need out of DJ. The Pistons are very athletic and have a bright future with those two guys (Drummond and Monroe) down low, DJ held his own tonight.”
The Clippers lead by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter before Detroit was able to cut it to just nine points at 105-96 with 2:05 to play. But another emphatic Jordan alley-oop from Collison lifted the lead to 11 and ended any hopes of a comeback.
Five Clippers finished in double figures for the game, a feat that has been done 18 times this season. The team is 13-5 in those games. Griffin led the way with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Crawford collected 21 points and Redick had 20 points. Matt Barnes, making his first start of the season, finished with 10 points.
NOTES: Jordan picked up his 20th double-double of the season…20 of the Clippers first 22 points were in the paint…Matt Barnes started for Jared Dudley, his first start of the season…Players wore special shoes and warm up shirts with the words “Dream Big” in honor of MLK Day…Chris Paul is expected to join the team in Charlotte for the rest of the road trip...Clippers are now 34-3 on Lawler’s Law (first to 100 wins) and have beaten Detroit five straight times.
CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS: (On team effort): "It was good. I thought we kind of let up that one stretch and I was not happy with that. Overall, I thought it was a great team game. You know what I loved the best? I thought our second unit is the group that got us the lead in that second quarter. And that is what we were trying to create with that one group with J.J. (Redick), Jamal (Crawford), Turk (Hedo Turkoglu, Duds (Jared Dudley), and D.J. (DeAndre Jordan)."
(On team front court): "They’re awesome. They held their own against two of the bigger guys in the league, three of the biggest guys when you count Josh (Smith). I thought they held their own."
(On Matt Barnes starting): "Matt (Barnes) was good in that unit because he gives us so much defensive energy. Really I was doing it more because I am trying to create without Chris (Paul), a second unit that can create offense."
CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD: (On front line): "We feel like our front line is great now, but they're only going to get better. They (DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin) both want to be better and they're pushing each other, and they're pushing our team. They're really the anchors defensively and offensively."
(On game): "Nobody tried to do too much. We all played our roles and tried to help each other out as much as possible. That's the key to win any game in this league."
CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN: (On offense): "It was a good performance; it wasn't a great performance. I thought we relaxed too much at certain times. In the fourth quarter we should have done a better job. Especially on a seven-game road trip like we have, guys have to contribute. We did a solid job."
(On seven-game road trip): "It's obviously tougher than having a seven-game home stand. Every team has to play tough on the road and we got a good start here in Detroit. You can't complain, you just have to go out and play."
PISTONS HEAD COACH MAURICE CHEEKS: (On start of the game): “They got a lot of easy baskets early on. A lot of it was due to pick-and-rolls where they were diving to the rim and our big guys had to help. We tried to keep big on big that would eliminate some of those lob plays but that’s what they do, that’s the way they play. It is unusual for them to get as many as they got but they usually do that.”
(On offensive balance): “That would help. You have to go with the way the game goes. Josh (Smith) was playing well and (Rodney) Stuckey obviously was playing well. Even if we didn’t get as many shots from other people, we have to get other folks to take shots and to make some shots.”
PISTONS FORWARD JOSH SMITH: (On being the fourth youngest team in the league): “You don’t want to make that an excuse. Just as a professional you have to be a student of the game. I don’t care if you’re young, old, you always can learn something. It’s good and you’re going to have fun and at a certain point you have to buckle down and watch film, watch your opponents, watch yourself; just to try and get better in order to last in this league.”
(On Pistons’ status after 40 games): “We’re still new to each other, it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s not going to happen in 40 games. We just have to be able to figure out what we’re doing right in those games that we’re winning and we have to try, as much as possible, to mimic those special moments.”
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By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
Playing on Martin Luther King Day has become a staple in the NBA and the Clippers continue that tradition Monday against the Detroit Pistons. Despite losing on Saturday to the Pacers in the second game of their Grammy road trip, the Clippers (28-14) have lost just twice in 2014 and have won five of their last six games. They have also won four straight against the Pistons (17-23) and four in a row at the Palace.
DEANDRE JORDAN VS. ANDRE DRUMMOND
They are the top two dunkers in the league and are among the league’s leaders in rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage, offensive rebounds, and double-doubles. In actuality, Jordan and Drummond are probably the leading candidates for the NBA’s Most Improved award.
- The Clippers remain practically unbeatable when they score 104 points or more. They did so in four straight games before the Indiana loss and are 20-1 when they reach at least 104 this season. The Pistons give up 102.5 points per game (25th in the NBA) and have given up 104-plus 21 times, winning just two of the games.
- The Clippers are trying to start 2-1 on the Grammy trip for only the third time in franchise history. They did so in 2005-06 and again in 2011-12.
- Blake Griffin is getting to the foul line and making them at a career-best rate during his brilliant stretch of basketball over the last month. He is shooting 77.9 percent from the free throw line since Dec. 14 and has gone to the line 172 times.
- Drummond and Greg Monroe are second among power forward-center combinations in double-doubles. They have combined for 47 on the year, including 29 from Drummond (No. 2 in the NBA). Griffin and Jordan are behind them with 45, while Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic lead the NBA with 54 combined.
- The Pistons have won three of their last four games, including two on the road. Bizarrely, they are just 7-13 at the Palace, while boasting a 10-10 road record (better than the Clippers’ at 10-11).
- Detroit is has its share of problems defensively. They are ranked 25th or worse in opponent’s field goal percentage, opponent’s 3-point percentage and points allowed. Compounding matters against a team like the Clippers who thrives off turnovers, Detroit commits 15.5 turnovers per game (23rd).
Darren Collison and Brandon Jennings played one game against each other in a high school tournament. Jennings attended Dominguez Hills High in Compton before transferring to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, while Collison played all four years at Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga… Former Clipper Chauncey Billups is with the Pistons. He has not appeared in a game since Jan. 10. He has battled injuries off and on this season and lost his starting spot to rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope… The Clippers are 6-1 against the Pistons since the start of 2009-10 with the only loss coming in overtime at Staples Center Griffin’s rookie year. That .857 winning percentage against the Pistons in that span is the second best against any opponent (.889 vs. Charlotte)… Jamal Crawford is 13 3-pointers away from tying Kobe Bryant for the 12th most in NBA history…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Doc Rivers: “On the road you can lose a 50/50 game. You can’t get crushed in a 50/50 game.”
Jamal Crawford: “We’ve been playing some good basketball so we’re not going to let [a loss to Indiana] deter us from our goal.”
LAC: Chris Paul (shoulder) remains out. Darren Collison (toe), Matt Barnes (thumb) and J.J. Redick (knee) all sustained minor injuries against the Pacers, but are probable against Detroit.
DET: None reported
REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY
All-Time: 36-69 (Home: 24-29), Road: 12-40)
Road Streak: Won 3
Largest Margin of Victory:
Jan. 20, 2014 at the Palace
LAST TIME OUT