The LA Clippers (10-8) are in the midst of a six game home-stand having gone 1-1 in the first two, both against the Dallas Mavericks. The Detroit Pistons come to town next with one of the worst records in the NBA at 4-14 although no game should be seen as an “easy’ win for the Clippers.

Game Information

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

When: 12:30 p.m. PT

How to Watch: Bally Sports SoCal

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Eric Bledsoe – Paul George – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac

Pistons: Cade Cunningham – Cory Joseph – Saddiq Bey – Jerami Grant – Luka Garza

Injury Report

Clippers: Kahwi Leonard out (right knee), Nicolas Batum out (health and safety protocols), Jason Preston out (right foot), Keon Johnson out (G League assignment), Brandon Boston Jr. out (G League assignment), Jay Scrubb out (G League assignment).

Pistons: Killian Hayes doubtful (left thumb), Kelly Olynyk out (left knee), Isaiah Livers out (G League assignment), Jamorko Pickett out (G League assignment), Chris Smith out (G League assignment).

The Big Picture

The Clippers got some much needed reinforcements on Tuesday night when Marcus Morris Sr. returned to the lineup after missing the last 15 games with a knee injury. While he didn’t have a huge impact, he did score 10 points and his mobility looked good, especially on the defensive end.

Unfortunately the Clippers can’t seem to catch a break as the return of Morris was offset by the news that Nicolas Batum will miss at least the next ten days after being placed into the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Against Dallas Tuesday night, the Clippers battled as well as you would expect them too being short-handed and with the Mavericks getting Luka Doncic back in the lineup. They forced overtime on a crazy Paul George corner three but couldn’t pull off the win.

The Pistons represent an opportunity for the Clippers to get back on track ahead of the Sunday showdown against the Golden State Warriors, but what they can’t do is overlook the Pistons. Their focus should be on this game and this game only or the Clippers could find themselves at .500 by the end of the weekend.

The Antagonist

The Pistons come into Staples Center on a four game losing streak and having squandered double-digits second half leads over the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

They will get some good news though as Isaiah Stewart is set to return to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension for his role in an altercation with the Lakers. Stewart has averaged 7.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. He’s shot 54.5 percent from the field and brings some much needed toughness to the Pistons frontcourt.

Detroit is clearly a team that is in a youth movement highlighted by No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham. While Cunningham hasn’t exactly jumped out the gates the way a few other rookies have, he is showing the promise that made him the top overall pick in the draft. He hasn’t shot particularly well, but the rest of his game including his playmaking and rebounding have been there.

This Pistons team is capable of stealing a win and it’s on the Clippers not to look past this team regardless of their record.

Game Notes

  • Serge Ibaka has played two games since his return from the G League and he’s just been okay. He was the first center off the bench in the first game against Dallas, but on Tuesday night Isaiah Hartenstein received the majority of the backup center minutes. Ibaka is clearly still getting up to game speed after recovering from his back injury, but the Clippers are going to need some more out of him. One area in particular that he brings that Hartenstein doesn’t is his three-point shooting. Ibaka is a career 36 percent shooter from distance and for a team that’s needed some offensive punch, him regaining his shooting form will help in a big way.
  • Eric Bledsoe continues to be ineffective on the offensive end. The Clippers have struggled to generate offense this season and a big part of that is Bledsoe’s inconsistency on that end. He’s had a couple big scoring games but he’s mostly been invisible. He’s been a 16-18 point per game scorer in the NBA and whether it’s him adjusting to a new team or something else, it might be time to experiment with a starting lineup change. Terance Mann is the most reasonable candidate to start in place of Bledose as his slashing game goes well alongside Reggie Jackson’s shooting. Bledsoe can then help run the second unit and pair well alongside Luke Kennard. Whatever it may be though, they can’t go on too much further getting nothing offensively from Bledsoe.
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