clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clippers vs Pistons Preview and Game Thread

New, comments

The Clippers head into an easier part of their schedule with a home contest against the injury-ridden Pistons.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

When: 7:30 PM PT

How to Watch/Listen: NBA TV, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

Projected Starting Lineups

Pistons: Bruce Brown – Langston GallowayTony SnellChristian WoodAndre Drummond

Clippers: Landry ShametKawhi LeonardPaul GeorgeMoe HarklessIvica Zubac

Injuries

Pistons: Blake Griffin Doubtful (Knee), Markieff Morris Out (Foot), Luke Kennard Out (Knee), Reggie Jackson Out (Back), Khyri Thomas Out (Foot)

Clippers: Patrick Beverley Out (Wrist)

The Big Picture

Despite some up and down play of late, the Clippers have cemented themselves as a top team in the Western Conference heading into 2020. Having survived both a difficult early schedule and a rash of injuries to key players, the Clippers are looking to get healthy and build some chemistry so they can get rolling down the stretch of the season. Patrick Beverley is the only player on the shelf right now and his absence doesn’t promise to be too great. In the meantime, the Clippers should be able to feast on a light schedule and pad their wins for postseason seeding.

The Antagonist

The Pistons remain firmly where they have been for most of the past decade – stuck in mediocrity. This year, they’ve actually been worse than that, with a 12-22 record, but due to the number of awful NBA teams this season they’re only three games back of a playoff spot. Blake Griffin has been a disaster thus far this season, missing many games and appearing quite unhealthy in the contests he has appeared in. Other key players like Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard have missed time as well, leaving the Pistons strapped for both role players and stars. Andre Drummond has been good, Bruce Brown is a nice defender, Christian Wood has been a revelation, and Derrick Rose is a potent bench scorer, but the Pistons just don’t have much else on their roster.

Notes

Paul George Slumping: Really, the source of many of the Clippers’ struggles over the past couple weeks is simple – Paul George is in the midst of a brutal shooting slump. George is shooting 30% from the field and 26% from three over the past five games, and hasn’t gone to the free throw line more than six times in a game in that stretch. His shot selection has been particularly bad, as he’s settled for jumpers far too frequently and hasn’t moved the ball enough when defenses load up on him. Still, he won’t shoot this badly forever, and the good news is that he’s continued to contribute as a rebounder, defender, and playmaker while reducing his turnovers. When George starts connecting on his shots again, the Clippers offense will look far more potent. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t work on his shot selection and moving the ball more, but sometimes the NBA is just about hitting shots and PG hasn’t been able to hit them recently.

Dominating the Wing Matchups: This would be a great contest for PG to have a return to form in, as the Pistons only have one real wing-sized defender, Tony Snell. Bruce Brown is energetic and is a solid defender, but he’s too small to really bother George or Kawhi Leonard, while Snell himself is really only an ok defensive player at best. After that there’s only deep bench players and vastly undersized players without a prayer. Kawhi and George should be able to get whatever shots they want whenever they want them, and the Clippers should feed them as much as possible.

Defending Drummond: The Pistons best player this season (by far) has been Andre Drummond, and he’s the type of athletic, big-bodied center that can trouble both Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell. The Pistons’ only real chance of a win (outside of an outlier bad performance by the Clips) is a dominant showing from Drummond. The best way to slow him down would be to get him in foul trouble, and Harrell especially should try to attack him to draw some fouls. Outside of that, the Clippers must make a concerted effort to keep Drummond off the offensive glass, as he gets a lot of easy points that way. As long as the Clippers can keep Drummond somewhat under control around the basket, they should be able to secure the win.

This article will also serve as the game thread, so leave your comments on the game and anything else Clippers-related below.