Pistons 92, Clippers 74

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons got the Los Angeles Clippers at the right time, and they knew it.

Chris Webber had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Pistons beat the short-handed Clippers 92-74 Monday night for their seventh straight victory.

The Clippers staggered in for their last stop on a seven-game trip and fell to 8-19 on the road. They were missing Elton Brand, who was a late scratch with back spasms.

“We reminded our guys of all that this morning, before the game, during the game and after the game,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “We’ve been in that situation too—it isn’t easy to be at the end of a trip like that, especially without Elton.”

Saunders even got the weather he wanted—a chilly, snowy day with a winter storm about to roll in.

“The teams from the East go out west early in the season, and we literally get our heads beat in,” Saunders said. “But it is even harder for the Western teams, because they come through here around the All-Star break, and they go from 75 degrees to 10-below, and all they want to do is sit in their hotel rooms all day. That’s just how we like it.”

The Clippers, who haven’t played a home game yet in February, went 2-5 on the marathon trip, and one of the victories came against the struggling Boston Celtics. Los Angeles hosts Atlanta on Wednesday.

“This is the longest trip of the year, and we wanted it to turn out better than it did,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “There were a couple games on the trip that we played against teams that we felt we could beat, but we didn’t get the job done.”

Detroit, which has beaten the Clippers eight straight times, improved to 11-2 since Webber joined the starting lineup.

“There was a period where Chris was just attacking the basket and making great plays,” Tayshaun Prince said. “We caught the Clippers on the back end of a long road trip, where we knew they couldn’t sustain for 40 minutes and we took advantage of it.”

Richard Hamilton scored 15 points and Prince added 14 for Detroit, which had all of its starters score in double figures.

“They played team ball, and when you do that, you can wear a team down,” Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley said. “Before we knew it, we were down 15 and they were keeping that lead.”

Mobley led Los Angeles with 17 points, and Corey Maggette added 15. Chris Kaman had 13 points and nine rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth.

The Pistons led 45-38 at the half, holding the Clippers to 34.2 percent shooting, and took over in the third quarter.

Webber had eight points and Hamilton scored five as Detroit opened the second half with a 13-3 run.

The Pistons led 71-56 after three. Sam Cassell started the fourth with a three-point play for the Clippers but Webber scored the next four points to put the game away.

“Webber gives them another dimension because he creates easy baskets,” Dunleavy said. “That was a good pick up for them, and they are playing very well.”

Notes

Paul Davis, who went to high school a few minutes from the Palace, replaced Brand on the active roster. Davis scored two points in 12 minutes and had a career-high seven rebounds. … Brand’s status is day to day. … Dunleavy picked up a third-quarter technical for arguing a call. … The Clippers matched their lowest scoring output of the season, set Jan. 6 at Atlanta.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Clippers
C. Maggette C. Maggette
3-10,  15 Pts
8 Rebs, 4 Assists
 Detroit
C. Webber C. Webber
6-9,  19 Pts
9 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Monday, Feb 12