What: Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:30, Fox Sports Detroit
Where: Staples Center Los Angeles CA
Previous Matchup: Clippers 104 Pistons 98
The Detroit Pistons have won two in a row following a long and frustrating 13 game losing skid. To make it three in a row, they have to visit “Lob City” and the Chris Paul-led Los Angeles Clippers. The Pistons can win this game against the Clips – they were close in their last matchup on November 26th and actually led in the 4th quarter before collapsing late. To return the favor on L.A.’s home floor and steal a win, here’s what it’s going to take.
1.) The frontcourt needs to continue to pour in the points. The triumvirate of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith combined to score 70 points against the Kings on Saturday and they can do it again against the Clippers. Drummond had 17 and 13 in the loss in November and Smith had 17 and six assists, but Monroe wasn’t effective at all, scoring just six points. Monroe is coming off a strong game against the Kings (24 & 8) so Detroit will have to get the same effort out of him in this one.
2.) Brandon Jennings didn’t play in the loss in November due to a thumb injury, but he hasn’t shown up this entire month. Jennings is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 20.3% in seven games in December and it would be a terrific time for him to break out of his slump against an elite point guard like Paul. I’m willing to bet that Paul will bring the best out of Jennings and he’ll break out to pour in a good performance tonight. I think he has to be miffed about not getting a single 4th quarter minute against Sacramento as coach Stan Van Gundy opted to go with D.J. Augustin. Jennings needs to get it together and I’m willing to bet that it’ll be in this game.
3.) The Clippers can be considered an offensive powerhouse. They average 106.4 points per game and are second in the league in 3-point percentage, connecting on 38.3% from downtown )led by JJ Redick’s sizzling 41.5%). The players responsible for defending Redick? They would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks. Caldwell-Pope has to get into Redick and make him uncomfortable and Meeks has to do the same thing when he enters the game. Detroit gives up less than 100 points per game so maybe they can experience some success in slowing down the Clippers. They have no choice if they want to win.
Prediction: Pistons 111 Clippers 109