Clippers-Pistons Preview

An all-around effort has the Los Angeles Clippers on the brink

of a historic winning streak.

That doesn’t appear likely to end on Monday when they visit the

Detroit Pistons, who will try to avoid their fifth straight

loss.

Los Angeles (17-6) continued to play well at both ends Saturday

night in a 111-85 win at Milwaukee that gave the team its ninth

consecutive victory.

It’s the longest winning streak for the franchise since the

Buffalo Braves captured 11 in a row during the 1974-75 season.

“It’s not easy to win in this league but I’m pleased,” coach

Vinny Del Negro said. “We’re finding different ways to win.”

Del Negro’s club posted its third-highest field-goal percentage

of the season (53.7) against Milwaukee after shooting 45.1 percent

from the floor over its previous three contests.

While the Clippers were averaging 99.5 points before their

winning streak, they’ve been even more productive with 106.4 during

the recent surge.

The Pacific Division leaders have received key contributions

throughout the rotation. Reserve Matt Barnes, who scored 21 on

Saturday, has averaged 18.0 points over his last three games.

Los Angeles’ bench is the league’s second-highest scoring (42.1

points per game).

“We are definitely super-talented and our bench helps us win a

lot of games,” said center DeAndre Jordan, who had 15 points and

11 boards against the Bucks. “If we can stay healthy and continue

to do what we are doing, we’ll be OK.”

Blake Griffin kept the team rolling with 18 points and 11

rebounds against the Bucks, giving him an average of 20.3 and 9.1

during the winning streak.

Griffin has averaged 19.7 points and 15.3 boards versus Detroit

in three career meetings.

Behind him, the Clippers rank second in the league in the paint

(48.0 points per game) after scoring 66 on Saturday.

They have a chance to continue their dominance against the

Pistons, who sit near the bottom of the league in points allowed in

the paint (43.5 per game).

Playing a third game in four nights, Detroit (7-19) looks for

only its third win in December after losing 88-77 to Indiana on

Saturday night.

“We can’t use fatigue as an excuse because every team does the

same thing,” reserve center Andre Drummond said after finishing

with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Greg Monroe was one of the bright spots with 18 points and eight

rebounds for the Pistons, who dropped their fourth straight at

home.

Monroe, the team’s scoring leader at 15.2 points per game, had

23 and 15 rebounds in Detroit’s only meeting against the Clippers

in 2011-12, but that effort wasn’t enough as Los Angeles rallied to

win 87-83 in overtime behind Chris Paul’s 19 points and 15

assists.

Guards Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight combined for 13 points

on 4 of 22 shooting in that loss, but they’re playing well of late.

Stuckey has scored 17.3 points per game in his last seven, while

Knight has averaged 21.5 in his past six.

The Pistons, however, shot just 38.6 percent from the field

against the Pacers and have made 40.1 percent during their

four-game losing streak. Those struggles could continue against a

Los Angeles team that has limited its opponents to 39.5 percent

from the field in the last four games.

The Clippers have won four of their last five against

Detroit.