Pistons at Clippers Game Preview - Mar. 18, 2012
A successful comeback in their latest contest might provide the spark the Los Angeles Clippers need to string some wins together.
The Clippers look to win consecutive games for the first time in a little more than a month when they host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
Los Angeles (25-18) had dropped three of the first four on its six-game home stretch before overcoming a six-point deficit with less than 3 minutes to play to beat Houston 95-91 on Saturday. Chris Paul scored 12 of his 23 points in the final 2:42 to help the Clippers win for the third time in eight games.
"It's a win, a grind out win. We'll take it," said coach Vinny Del Negro, whose team moved within 2 1/2 games of the Pacific Division-leading Lakers. "It's obviously a step in the right direction, but we have to be consistent. We've got to get our energy up, play hard and continue to grind it out."
Despite shooting 40.7 percent, Del Negro's club responded after holding a team meeting following Thursday's 91-87 loss to Phoenix. However, the key for the Clippers is to build on their latest victory while trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 15-16.
"Our confidence is high, we can't panic," said forward DeAndre Jordan, who pulled down 11 rebounds Saturday. "Our standing is still pretty good (in the Western Conference) and we're trying to win games and move up."
The Clippers hope the acquisition of fifth-year swingman and Los Angeles area native Nick Young (16.6 points per game) from Washington at the trade deadline will help. Though there is a chance Young could make his Clippers debut in this contest, it's likely not to come until Tuesday at Indiana.
"We just felt it was the right thing to do right now," Del Negro told the Clippers' official website. "How it's all going to come together with the chemistry of the team and everything time will tell."
Young is excited to play with Paul, who broke out Saturday after totaling 37 points in the previous three games. Blake Griffin had 18 points before fouling out against the Rockets.
Griffin has totaled 42 points and 35 rebounds in two career games versus Detroit.
Though the Clippers have won three of four versus Detroit following a 13-game series skid, the Pistons won 113-107 in overtime in the last meeting at Staples Center on Nov. 12, 2010.
Detroit's Rodney Stuckey had 17 points with six assists in that contest, and has averaged 26.8 on 35-of-60 shooting (58.3 percent) and 7.3 assists in the last four games overall. He had 23 points and eight assists as the Pistons (16-28) fell to 1-2 on a five-game western trip with a 109-101 loss to Phoenix on Friday.
Detroit lost for the second time in six games despite shooting 51.3 percent. The Pistons, 12-8 since a season-high seven skid, have shot 53.3 percent over the last five contests.
However, the Pistons need to improve on the defensive end after the first three opponents on this trip have averaged 105.0 points and made 51.7 percent of their shots.
"The good thing is we're in (games now)," coach Lawrence Frank told the Pistons' official website. "It's the maturity of getting stops. That will determine, at the end of the day, who wins and loses."