Pistons blow 25-point lead in 111-101 loss to Clippers
DETROIT (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers wiped out a 23-point deficit in less than nine minutes.
Then Lou Williams took over.
Williams scored 16 Los Angeles points in a row during a torrid fourth-quarter stretch, and the Clippers dominated the final period of a 111-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.
The Clippers trailed by 25 in the second quarter and were down 83-60 in the third before storming back to tie the game at 89 in the fourth.
It was 91-all before Williams scored every Los Angeles point during a decisive run that put the Clippers up 107-96.
“When you’re down big like that, you try to get it to 12. Then you try to get it to eight at a certain point, try to get it to six and give yourself an opportunity to win the game,” Williams said. “Like clockwork, we were hitting all of those spots, and we gave ourselves an opportunity to go win the game at about the eight-minute mark.”
The rally from 25 down was the largest regular-season comeback in Clippers history. They rallied from 24 down against Chicago in 2004.
Williams finished with 39 points. Detroit’s Blake Griffin had 24 points and 11 rebounds against his former team, and Reggie Jackson added 29 points for the Pistons.
“Devastating is the word for that game. I thought we played some of our best basketball all season in the first half. We were engaged and we were moving the ball,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “In the second half, we didn’t send Lou Williams the right way all half. Everyone in the league knows which way Lou wants to go with the ball, and we let him do it every time.”
The Pistons led 40-22 after a first quarter in which they made eight 3-pointers. Los Angeles took three timeouts in the game’s first 5:25, but that didn’t do much to stem the tide.
Detroit led 65-47 at halftime. It was still a comfortable margin until the very end of the third, when the Clippers — who were starting a six-game road trip — began to make a game of it.
Williams made a pair of 3-pointers during his 16-point tear in the fourth. Los Angeles outscored the Pistons 35-14 in the final period.
Clippers: Montrezl Harrell scored 16 points and Mike Scott added 15. Only one starter was in double figures, and that was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 14. … Los Angeles has had a bigger comeback than this in the postseason. The Clippers rallied from 27 down against Memphis in 2012.
Pistons: Detroit finished 17 of 42 from 3-point range, going 6 of 22 in the second half.
The Pistons gave up Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic in the deal for Griffin. Those three combined for 23 points Saturday.
Griffin outscored them by one, but didn’t get the win.
“We just did a poor job picking it up on defense,” Griffin said. “Down the stretch in the third quarter, we had some turnovers — I had a turnover — and we missed some shots. When that happens, you have to sit down and play defense, and we didn’t do that.”
The Clippers’ reserves came in averaging a league-best 51.3 points per game, and they outscored Detroit’s bench 80-17. The Pistons’ starters outscored their Los Angeles counterparts 84-31, but it wasn’t enough.
It was a 3-pointer by Scott that tied the game at 89.
“Lou was the star, but if you had a second star it was Mike, and it was on both ends,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought Mike became extremely physical defensively on Blake, and I thought that made a big difference.”
Clippers: Visit Toronto on Sunday.
Pistons: Host Denver on Monday night.