Pistons 108, Clippers 99
The Clippers led until the final moments of the third quarter before Detroit pulled away for their 10th win in 12 games, 108-99 Wednesday night.
“We gave them life and let them think they were a better team than they really are,” said Chauncey Billups, who scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. “The good thing is that we got the win. We lost a lot of games like this early in the season.”
Los Angeles lost their ninth straight and 17th in 19 tries.
Elton Brand, who led Los Angeles with 27 points and 10 rebounds, was impressed with his team’s effort. The Clippers were missing Marko Jaric (foot) and Quentin Richardson (back), then lost Corey Maggette to a strained hamstring in the first half.
“We’re short-handed right now, but you have to be proud of the way these young guys came and played,” Brand said. “We’re playing as hard as we can with the unit we have.”
“He didn’t really guard anyone,” the Pistons coach said. “He did some good things, but he didn’t do the job I want to see guarding people.”
Keyon Dooling had 20 points and 10 assists for the Clippers.
The first half was unusually high-scoring for a Pistons game—both teams shot at least 50 percent and went into intermission tied 52-all.
The Clippers kept up the pressure in the third, scoring 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting to lead by four late in the quarter.
Detroit, though, took control with a 13-0 run that spanned the third and fourth periods and gave them a 86-77 lead with 10 minutes left. Hamilton had five points in the run and Williamson added four.
Los Angeles got as close as 91-86 but Billups had nine points in a 12-2 run to put the game away.
Ben Wallace missed six of eight free throws in the fourth quarter, helping the Clippers stay within striking distance, but they couldn’t hit enough shots for a comeback.
Detroit finished the game with a season-high 31 points off turnovers, thanks to 18 steals.
“We just turned the ball over too many times in the second half, and they won the game,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Once we lost Corey, we were playing on fumes at the end. We played with every ounce of energy we had.”
Detroit’s reserves had 27 points, 12 assists and six steals.
Clippers center Chris Kaman, who played his college basketball at Central Michigan, had a large cheering section for his first NBA game in his home state. … Darko Milicic played the final 1:11, but did not score. … Brand, Ben Wallace and Billups all picked up technical fouls for arguing calls. … A fan threw an octopus on the floor in the fourth quarter—a longtime tradition at Detroit Red Wings playoff games. … The game was the 14th straight sellout at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the longest streak since thefirst 245 games held in the building, from 1988-1993.