Pistons at Clippers Game Preview - March 22, 2014
Regular Season Game #69Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers saw their longest winning streak of the season come to an end last time out.
They would appear to have a good chance to start a new one with the Detroit Pistons coming to town.
The Clippers try to make it six in a row over the Pistons, who hope to avoid a 13th consecutive road loss Saturday night.
Los Angeles (48-21) had outscored opponents by an average of 15.4 points during an 11-game run before falling 110-100 at Denver on Monday. Chris Paul scored 29 points while going 10 of 19 from the field, but Griffin couldn't find his form.
The All-Star power forward shot 7 of 25 (28.0 percent) for his third-worst mark this season, finishing with 26 points and 12 rebounds. "I told Blake that I don't care. I don't mind if he goes 7 for 40, just keep shooting and playing with confidence," coach Doc Rivers said. "I think that is good for our team sometimes. You're not going to be great every night offensively. Your offense is going to fail you some nights. But, there are other ways to win and help the team. I thought Blake tried to do that."
Griffin has scored at least 20 points in a career-high 27 straight games, a stretch that began with 25 in a 112-103 win at Detroit on Jan. 20. He's averaging 27.3 points during his streak.
"I was tired but you can't use that as an excuse. (Monday's) game is pretty much entirely on me. I can't play that poorly and expect us to win," he said. "The good thing about it is you have a chance to redeem yourself. A lot of good players have bad nights or have poor shooting nights, things like that. It's about how you bounce back." The Clippers have taken seven of eight from Detroit, including five straight by an average of 15.6 points. DeAndre Jordan had 16 points, a season high-tying 21 rebounds and four blocks in the Jan. 20 win.
While Los Angeles is gearing up for the playoffs, the Pistons (25-43) have dropped 6 1/2 games back of the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth behind a 3-14 slide. Detroit has struggled mightily on the road, where it's allowed an average of 111.4 points during a 12-game losing streak.
The Pistons haven't lost 13 straight away from home since a franchise-worst 19-game skid in 1980-81.
Detroit is hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive loss overall after falling 98-92 at Phoenix on Friday. The Pistons shot a season-worst 38.5 percent (10 of 26) from the foul line while the Suns were 24 of 35.
"I thought there were two major factors," coach John Loyer said. "One, we turned the ball over 19 times. ... Then you go 10 for 26 from the line."
Josh Smith became just the third player in the last 10 seasons to miss all eight of his free throws, joining teammate Andre Drummond, who went 0 for 8 on Feb. 21. The Pistons, shooting 66.6 percent from the line, are the only team in the NBA under 70 percent.
Drummond returned to action after sitting out two nights earlier with a neck injury, finishing with 13 points and 16 boards. Clippers guard Jamal Crawford has missed eight of the last nine games with a strained calf, but he could be back Saturday.
Crawford scored 26 points in this season's first meeting with Detroit.
Darren Collison (stomach virus) is expected to return following a two-game absence.