The Clippers’ next opponent will look very familiar, and that’s not because there are so many Pistons on L.A.’s roster that Dwane Casey called them “Detroit West”. Three days after facing off in Los Angeles, the Clippers and Pistons are meeting up again in the Motor City.
The main difference this time? Availability.
Paul George hasn’t played both nights of a back-to-back in a month, and that came when he had only played 23 minutes in the first game. George logged 38 minutes last night, so an encore seems unrealistic, though Kawhi Leonard could return to spell his superstar comrade since he did make the trip with the team. On the other side, Jerami Grant is set to return for Detroit after being out for a week; he’ll be facing the Clippers for the first time since the Nuggets defeated L.A. in the western conference semifinals.
When: Wednesday, April 14 at 5 p.m. PT
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal
Opposing perspective: Detroit Bad Boys
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (38-18): Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac, Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard
Pistons (16-38): Saddiq Bey, Josh Jackson, Mason Plumlee, Cory Joseph, Wayne Ellington
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard (foot) — QUESTIONABLE; Serge Ibaka (lower back), Patrick Beverley (hand) — OUT
Pistons: Rodney McGruder (right elbow), Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee) — OUT
While the Clippers played last night, the Pistons have been waiting since Sunday for their second shot at L.A. They did a lot of things well against the Clippers, including sharing the ball, generating extra possessions on the offensive glass, and hitting from long range, but they simply had no hope of stopping George and the rest of the Clippers.
It’s hard to foresee that changing. Detroit is the 20th-best defense in the league, but that drops to 27th when they face top-10 offenses. Their defensive rating of 120.4 points allowed per 100 possessions is even worse than L.A.’s offensive rating of 119.9.
Then again, the Pistons have collected marquee home wins against Boston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, the Lakers, and Brooklyn. Apparently it’s a rite of passage for contenders to drop one in Detroit. We’ll see if the Clippers can avoid that trap.
More news for Wednesday:
- The Clippers played the Pacers yesterday, and Rohan Nadkarni has the story on how being traded to Indiana may have saved Caris LeVert’s life.
- Paul George has a new perspective about dealing with his foot injury.
- Nic Batum’s shot-blocking prowess has earned him a new nickname.
- Best wishes to Jamal Murray for a speedy recovery.
- I found this piece on how Japanese athletes feel about the Olympics really interesting.
- And finally, a little plug: I went on the Locked On Clippers podcast to talk about process vs. results for the rest of the season, among other things. Check it out!