Coming out the gate, the Pistons set the tone on the defensive end. As a result, they held Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to a combined 8 points in the first half. In addition, the Clippers as a whole were only able to score 42 points in the first half. The problem, however, is that in the NBA, stars can only be held for so long. And as the likes of Paul George and Reggie Jackson got going offensively in the second half, Detroit struggled to keep up.
Despite a 26 point effort from Bojan Bogdanovic and 18 from Jaden Ivey, it ended up being not enough. The Pistons ultimately lost to the Clippers 96-91. Even though they didn’t come out with the win, the team from the Motor City did make it difficult for the Clippers. Detroit forced LA to shoot 40 percent from the field. In addition, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were held to a combined 27 percent from the field. All of this without Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart. Despite this being their 5th loss in a row and 8 of their last 9, Detroit is heading in the right direction.
Pistons come to life on defense, lose their pulse on offense
Although the Pistons brought their maximum effort on both ends of the court, their offense never could get going. Detroit as a team went 6-31 from beyond the arc, with their best shooters struggling to get going. Saddiq Bey has continued his cold shooting streak, going 2-8 from the three. Bey wasn’t able to get to the free throw line to alleviate his shooting woes. However, Saddiq was a strong presence on the glass with 8 boards, and was solid defensively as well. Jaden Ivey was one of the constant producers for Detroit offensively, but he himself couldn’t connect from the three point line either. The rookie guard shot 1-7 from beyond the arc, although he was able to more than hold his own against multiple time all stars.
One player who impressed in his first half minutes was Jalen Duren. On the eve of his 19th birthday, the young big was making highlights and grabbing boards. The Pistons big finished with 8 points and 9 boards in 25 minutes, and with the absence of Isaiah Stewart, is going to see an elevated role. His counterpart Marvin Bagley III showed some of the rust from his return from injury. Bagley was only able to add 4 points and 8 boards of his own, but Detrot elected to play Duren for 25 minutes to Marvin’s 22. In a combined effort, Detroit held the Clippers to only 38 points in the paint, and 4 points in the fast break.
Detroit faces the Lakers in the same building next night
The Pistons will be right back in action Friday night against the Lakers, who are coming off a 4 day layoff. LeBron James and crew started their season 3-10, and as a team, the Lakers are 30th in offensive rating. Darvin Ham’s Lakers started the season as a top 3 team defensively, but since have had efforts that had them among the worst in the league. They now have balanced out to 15th in defense. The good news for Detroit is that they will be facing a team that is (somehow) worse than them at shooting the basketball. It’ll also be an opportunity for Jaden Ivey to square off against one of his idols, Russell Westbrook.
In the NBA, it’s difficult to find silver linings in the midst of a long losing slump. It’s especially difficult to find the silver linings when you’re without two of your best players. However, even without two key pieces of their arsenal, the Pistons more than held their own. In fact, they controlled the game for the majority of the bout. But ultimately, it was the star power of the Clippers that put them over the top. Detroit’s California run continues, and if they play that type of defense against the Lakers, they are more than capable of pulling out a victory.