Despite a slew of injuries, the Los Angeles Clippers are off to their best start in more than 20 years.
The Clippers will try to keep their perfect record intact and end a nine-game losing streak against the Pistons when they visit Detroit on Friday.
The Clippers are 4-0 for the first time since 1985-86, when they started out with five consecutive wins in their second season in Los Angeles. They handed Indiana its first loss of the season on Wednesday, beating the Pacers 104-89 to improve to 2-0 on a road trip that concludes with this contest.
"In training camp, our motto was 'Believe,'" said forward Corey Maggette, who leads Los Angeles with 19.8 points per game. "We've gotten off to a great start, and we just have to keep it up."
However, Wednesday's victory came at a cost as Cuttino Mobley, who entered the game averaging 23.7 points, left in the first quarter with a strained right groin. He is not expected to play against the Pistons (3-1) and could miss up to a week.
Maggette is questionable for this game after aggravating a bruised tailbone, and reserve Ruben Patterson re-injured a dislocated right pinkie finger in the opening quarter and will be a game-time decision. The Clippers are already without Elton Brand (Achilles') and Shaun Livingston (knee), who haven't played this season because of injury.
They may be battered, but the Clippers will be trying to defeat the Pistons for the first time since a 74-72 home victory on Nov. 3, 2002. They have also lost their last six visits to Detroit.
"Collectively as a group, we go into each and every game the underdog," Clippers guard Sam Cassell said. "If you don't play hard against us, we will beat you."
Less than two weeks from his 38th birthday, Cassell helped pick up the slack after Mobley and Patterson left Wednesday's game. He finished with 35 points - his highest total since he joined the Clippers in 2005 - while playing a season-high 33 minutes.
"You think I can't do it? Just sit back and watch," Cassell said. "These guys on my team know I can play, I just happen to be 37 years old."
Chris Kaman, who is averaging 16.8 points and 16.5 rebounds, had 15 points and 22 boards - the most rebounds in a single game in the league in 2007-08.
"I try to take advantage of the opportunities I'm given," said Kaman, who has a double-double in every game this season while helping fill in for Brand. "I know what I've got to do. I'm no Elton Brand - I don't have that game. I just wanted to try to help fill in where he's missing."
The Pistons, meanwhile, will try to bounce back from their first loss. After outscoring their first three opponents by an average margin of 12 points, they fell 97-93 on Thursday at Chicago.
Rasheed Wallace scored 36 points against the Bulls, his most since joining Detroit during the 2003-04 season.
"Regardless of my game, it ended in an `L,'" said Wallace, who entered the game averaging just 11.7 points. "I'm old school so it didn't matter what I did, the team lost the game."
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