At halftime on Monday night, the Pistons only trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by a count of 42-40 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons had taken relatively good care of the ball with only six turnovers, they were sharing the ball nicely with 11 assists, and had contained Blake Griffin nicely. But as has been the trend so many times this season, the Pistons simply did not do enough in the second half to take a win from the Los Angeles Clippers. After two easy, showman-like dunks from Blake Griffn in the game's closing seconds, the Clippers had won their 10th straight game by a score of 88-76.
Chris Paul had 14 points and seven assists, Blake Griffin ended with 15 points, and Jamal Crawford's bid for sixth man of the year was strengthen with a 15 point night for the Clippers. Still, it wasn't a scoring barrage that hurt the Pistons, but rather the Clippers swarming defense that was too much for the Pistons. Trapping the Pistons high above the arch as well as in the low post, the Clippers had nine steals on the night on their way to causing 11 Pistons turnovers in the second half. The Clippers busy defense was too much for the Pistons, and the 25 points the Clippers had off turnovers was he difference in the game.
Lawrence Frank spoke to the press after the game about the Clippers defense:
"They force turnovers that lead to dunks. It's hard to defend. Many times that turnover is the first pass of their fast break. We had too many of those," Frank said. "When you go against a team that steals, strips, (and) is very, very aggressive, everything needs to be sharper."
The Clippers tough-nosed brand of defense seemed to throw the Pistons off their game on the offensive end. Too many times was the basketball smacked out of the Pistons low-post, and the Clippers seemed to have a hand on every ball thrown into the paint as the Pistons were held to 34 points in the paint.
It was a low-scoring affair all around, but the Pistons 16 point fourth quarter was the result of too many empty possessions. Most notably was the Pistons last-ditch possession while down seven points with 1:10 left in the game. During that possession, the Pistons recorded three offensive rebounds and had three open looks. Brandon Knight missed a put-back bunny, and Tayshaun Prince had two, three-point looks from both corners. The Pistons would've still been down either four or five points if any of those shots had fallen, but the empty possession was telling of a fourth quarter that was full of them.
The term "winnable" has been used scarcely around the Pistons this season, but with the Toronto Raptors next on the schedule it's not a long-shot to call Wednesday's game "winnable." The Pistons take on the Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm.
Pistons Game Notes
Tayshaun Prince lead scored 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds.
Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler each had 11 points. Monroe pulled down eight rebounds, and had six assists.
Brandon Knight's scoring average continues to climb, as Knight lead all Pistons scorers with 16 points. Knight was sloppy with the ball recording five turnovers to five assists.
With Rodney Stuckey out due to back spasms, the Pistons bench of Will Bynum, Charlie Villanueva, Andre Drummond, and Austin Daye scored a combined 21 points of the Pistons.
In other bench news, Corey Maggette did not see any time. Listed as "DNP coaches' decision."
Tags: Basketball, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA
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