Pistons 113, Clippers 107, OT

The Detroit Pistons found the perfect cure for their road

struggles. All it took was a meeting with the ailing Los Angeles

Clippers and a little help off the bench.

Reserve Charlie Villanueva scored 30 points and the Pistons used

a 9-0 run in overtime for a 113-107 victory on Friday night.

Austin Daye and Richard Hamilton added 12 points apiece for

Detroit (3-6), which picked up its first road win in five tries

this season.

”We were definitely determined to get a win on the road, we

haven’t been so good on the road,” Villanueva said. ”This was a

game that we definitely needed.”

The Pistons hit 11 of 18 from 3-point range, lead by

Villanueva’s five.

Villanueva, who entered averaging 13.3 points, confesses he is

content in his reserve role but made a case for a possible starting

spot with his performance.

”I’m fine coming off the bench, that’s what coach wants me to

do, be that sparkplug,” Villanueva said. ”I’m just accepting my

role and that’s what I’m doing.”

Eric Gordon returned after missing two games with a shoulder

injury to score 28 points and Blake Griffin had 18 points and a

career-best 18 rebounds for undermanned Los Angeles, which dropped

to 1-9 for the second time in three seasons.

”We just have to do a better job of finishing out games,”

Griffin said. ”We’ll be all right, we just need to go back to

work.”

Rodney Stuckey made a layup and converted a three-point play to

give Detroit a 109-105 lead with 1:30 left in overtime. Jason

Maxiell followed with three free throws for the seven-point

cushion.

After the Clippers made the first basket 20 seconds into

overtime, they didn’t score again until 14 seconds remained. They

missed 10-of-12 shots in the period.

”We did a pretty good job of just locking down on defense,”

Stuckey said. ”That was the difference of the game, just playing

good defense in overtime.”

The Clippers were without regulars Chris Kaman (knee), Baron

Davis (knee) and Randy Foye (hamstring). They started three rookies

in an undersized lineup that had Griffin starting at center, but

still managed to control the lane. They outscored the Pistons 54-32

in the paint but dropped their fifth in a row.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro wasn’t in the mood to make

excuses for his inexperienced squad.

”They better wake up, no one is going to feel sorry for you,”

he said. ”This is the NBA. Everyone is trying to win, but it comes

down to guarding better, executing better, making shots and making

plays.”

Detroit, which has struggled in the third quarter of games this

season, continued that trend by making just 3-of-17 shots in the

frame to allow the Clippers to storm back.

Hamilton’s 3-pointer less than a minute into the third made it

62-48. But Los Angeles followed with a 20-5 run as Gordon’s pair of

free throws with 2:38 left in the quarter made it 68-67 for the

Clippers’ first lead of the night.

Tied at 74 entering the fourth, neither team was able to go

ahead by more than two points until Gordon’s pair of free throws

capped his personal string of eight straight points and made it

95-91 with 2:55 left.

Villanueva then connected on consecutive 3-pointers before

Hamilton’s jumper evened things at 99.

Rasual Butler’s 3-pointer with 29 seconds left put the Clippers

ahead 102-99. After Ryan Gomes split his pair of free throws,

Stuckey tied it at 103 with two free throws.

The Pistons had a chance to win it when Hamilton stole the ball

in the waning seconds, but missed a long jumper as time

expired.

Notes: Los Angeles’ lone win on the season was a 107-92 triumph

over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 3.