Five Takeaways: Clippers’ Second-Half Comeback Falls Short In Detroit

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – A cold start, with the Pistons starting 13-for-17 from the floor, meant the Clippers played from behind most of Friday night. And despite making up an 18-point deficit with a scorching third-quarter comeback, a cold finish meant the Clippers’ (14-3) third loss of the year would follow.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 108-97 loss to the Pistons (8-9).

1) Redick catches fire – J.J. Redick was 1-for-3 at the half with two points. Then came the third quarter. Redick scored 18 points in the quarter, including the Clippers’ final 11 points of the quarter. By the end of the third, Redick was 7-for-11 with 20 points, helping trim what was a 17-point deficit halfway through the quarter down to two heading to the fourth. Redick finished with 24 points, and the backups would get the Clippers a lead early in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough. That lead was a brief one, as the Pistons responded with a 15-2 run and led the rest of the way.

2) Detroit backcourt answers –The first time these teams faced off this year, the Clippers’ backcourt completely stifled Detroit’s backcourt, as Ish Smith went 1-for-9 with two points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went 0-for-6 with one point. Friday was a different story. By the end of a first quarter in which the Pistons outscored the Clippers, 35-23, Smith and Caldwell-Pope already had seven points apiece. Their penetration opened up space for the Pistons’ forwards, and the duo, which finished with a combined 32 points and 17 assists, and both hit late fourth-quarter 3-pointers to push Detroit’s lead back to double digits when the Clippers threatened to cut it close again.

3) Streaks snapped – The Clippers had an 11-game winning streak against the Pistons, were 7-0 on the road this year and entered Friday night 4-0 against Eastern Conference teams. Those streaks were all snapped, as was the Clippers’ 11-game streak of scoring at least 100 points.

4) Griffin moves up leaderboard – Before Redick’s sizzling finish to the third quarter, it was Griffin helping start a third-quarter run with eight straight points to get the Clippers in striking distance. While scoring 24 points, Griffin passed Elton Brand for No. 3 on the Clippers’ all-time field goals leaderboard in the process. Griffin and Redick helped the Clippers end the third quarter on a 24-9 run.

5) Living at the line – As the Clippers mounted their comeback, chipping away at the lead, much of that had to do with their work at the line. The Clippers, who entered the night with 22.6 made free throws per game – the most in the NBA – were 12-for-14 at the line in the first half, at which point the Pistons had only taken two free throws. The Clippers finished 20-for-26 from the free-throw line on the night.

What’s Next? – The Clippers travel to Indiana to play the Pacers on Sunday.