The Los Angeles Clippers turned defense into points all night long as they cruised to a 114-82 point lead over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. Also, for the first time in franchise history, the Clippers are 6-1 to start the 2016/17 season.
Starters blow game open
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin stole the show for the Clippers on this night. The dynamic duo combined for 37 points. Griffin was one assist shy of a triple double, and finished with more assists on the night than Paul, the franchise leader in that category. JJ Redick finally had the offensive game the Clippers was waiting for, finishing the night with 20 points on 3-4 shooting.
It looked like the game was going to be close from the tip off. Tobias Harris finished off a layup near the rim to give the Pistons an 8-6 lead 2 minutes and 12 seconds into the game. However, that would be their only lead as they crumbled from that point forward.
Then, the Clippers went on a huge run to blow the game wide open. Between the early goings of the game and the 2:30 mark of the first period, Los Angeles scored 28 points, finishing off an impressive 24-2 run. At the end of the first 12 minutes of the game, the Clippers more than doubled up the Pistons, taking a 33-15 lead.
This year, compared to last, Los Angeles’ bench looks far better. The ageless Jamal Crawford looks as good as ever and Austin Rivers still needs to work on being a consistent shooter. But the new pieces are gelling nicely. Raymond Felton began the second quarter by nailing a shot from behind the three point arc; he finished with 10 on the night.
In fact, each one of the Clippers that saw time on the court scored at least three points. It shows how deep the team in and how many options Doc Rivers has at his disposal.
The lead kept growing in the second quarter with the reserves in the game. While the ball did not move as quickly, the backups still made their buckets, as they wound up scoring 14 of the 29 final points before halftime.
At the start of the second half, coach Rivers went with his starters and they put the game to rest before the Pistons could even get going. Redick scored six straight points at the beginning of the third quarter to make it 70-34.
Los Angeles had such a big lead heading towards the final 12 minutes, that Doc Rivers decided to rest his starters for the game. Felton got fouled attempting a three pointer, and while he did not get the and-one, he sunk all three attempts from the strike. This made it 93-53. Brandon Bass gave the Clippers 100 points after making a jump shot. Comparatively, Detroit had only 64 points late in the game, an astonishing difference.
As a matter of fact, the Clippers are one of the best defensive teams in the entire league, holding teams around 90 points a game. They did it again on Monday when they held a good Detroit team to a parsley 82 points, going 30-82 on the night from the field and 18-26 at the line.
How much longer can they keep up that defensive stat? Los Angeles has already beaten the Spurs on the road, but do have a tough couple of games ahead of them with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder coming up.