The Clippers face another of the worst teams in the entire NBA in the middle of their long road trip as they travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
When: 4:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570
Tickets: For great deals on Clippers tickets, check out Barry’s Tickets!
Clippers: James Harden – Amir Coffey – Terance Mann – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac
Pistons: Cade Cunningham – Jaden Ivey – Kevin Knox – Bojan Bogdanovic – Jalen Duren
Clippers: Paul George Questionable (Groin), Ivica Zubac Out (Calf), Moussa Diabate Out (Hand)
Pistons: Cade Cunningham Probable (Knee), Isaiah Stewart Out (Ankle), Mike Muscala Out (Concussion)
The Big Picture
The Clippers continue to float near the top of the Western Conference standings, but are still a game back of the Thunder and two games back of the Timberwolves. Still, they’re in a good spot with the trade deadline approaching. It seems very unlikely they’ll make a major move, whereas other teams will probably reshuffle their rosters more, and thus be weaker in the very short-term. If the Clippers can get back to full health in the coming weeks, they should be locked and loaded for a push to move atop the West standings.
The Pistons are 6-41. That’s historically bad. For a while, on their record-breaking, two-month, 28-game losing streak, it seemed like they might not get to even six wins this year. They’ll probably hit double digits, but that’s certainly not guaranteed. They have the 26th ranked offense, 29th ranked defense, and are 29th in overall Net Rating ahead of just the Hornets. The Pistons do have talent, with Cunningham, Ivey, Duren, and Ausar Thompson. But that talent is very young, doesn’t fit together great, and is surrounded by very little. Bojan Bogdanovic can still shoot. Alec Burks and Danilo Gallinari can get hot. But the Pistons have no plus defenders outside of Thompson and their creation is limited. They are a very, very terrible team.
Slowing Jalen Duren: Cade is the Pistons’ hope for a franchise savior, but Jalen Duren is the player I’m most worried about for the Clippers in this one. Duren is huge and athletic, and at this point could probably out jump Mason Plumlee and Daniel Theis combined. The Clippers’ rebounding has been hit or miss, and Duren is absolutely a guy who could get six or seven offensive rebounds to give the Pistons hope. The Clippers need to do their best to keep him off the offensive glass and limit the Pistons to a single shot per possession. If they do so, they should win.
Don’t Settle: Remember how bad the Wizards’ defense was two nights ago? Well, the Pistons’ defense is every bit as bad as that. The Clippers can’t settle for jumpers: they need to attack, blow by the Pistons’ poor defenders, and get fouled or finish at the rim (Duren, for all his talent, still doesn’t know the nuances of NBA defense). The Pistons defense is so bad that the Clippers can have an off shooting night and still win – they just need to play hard defense and be aggressive on offense.
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