Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Clippers game preview
The Detroit Pistons (4-2) are taking their squad out west as they take on the Los Angeles Clippers (5-1) in inter-conference play.
The Detroit Pistons will be looking to beat the Pacific Division-leading Clippers to try to win their first road game of the regular season. This will also be their first of two trips out west.
Detroit is coming off a dominating 103-86 victory over the Denver Nuggets at home on Saturday.
While the Pistons have played well at home so far this year, that has definitely not been the case on the road. Detroit is 0-2 away from the Palace of Auburn Hills in their first six match-ups, losing their games against the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets.
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Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris have provided the Pistons with a lot of offense to start the season, scoring 36.1 percent of the team’s overall points combined so far. They are also entering tonight’s game with solid Player Efficiency Ratings of 19.1 and 19.7 respectively, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Another key player for the Pistons so far has been point guard Ish Smith. He has quietly averaged 7.5 assists per game prior to tonight’s match-up, good enough to be seventh-best in the NBA. This is partly due to his ability to find open players on both the perimeter and the fast break:
Ish is dishin'.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 6, 2016
While his 38.2 field goal percentage and 11.1 three-point percentage (on very low volume) is left to be desired, he has still managed to score 10.5 points per game.
Andre Drummond is also coming in with high expectations after recording 19 points and 20 rebounds against the Nuggets. Drummond, who is averaging 13.7 points per game and a league-leading 14.7 rebounds per game entering tonight, has been fairly inconsistent at times. Following the Pistons’ 109-102 loss to the Nets Nov. 2, Drummond was criticized for having a lack of energy all game as well as a lack of consistency during his career.
On the other side of the court, the Clippers are coming into tonight off a 116-92 victory at the AT&T Center against the San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers dominated for much of the game, holding the lead for all but about five minutes.
The Clippers are also tied for first with the Oklahoma City Thunder – the only team they have lost to this season – for the Western Conference lead.
Drummond will most definitely be fighting for rebounds with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin all night long as well. The Clippers front-court is coming into the Staples Center with 12.3 and 9.7 rebounds per game, both of which are ranked in the league’s top 15. The latter of the two, Griffin, has also scored double-digit points – including 28 of them against the Spurs, in every game this season.
As the Pistons prepare to play four straight road games and just one game at the Palace between now and Nov. 19, they are preparing for a true test. If they can prove they can beat tough teams like the Clippers, the Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers during this stretch, they will appear to be in good shape for the season and potentially a postseason run.
Tonight is their first chance to get a mark on that test.