Ailing Clippers set to face Griffin, Pistons
Injuries remain an issue for the Los Angeles Clippers heading into a home matchup with the struggling Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
Despite practically half their roster of players missing games this season, the Clippers have relied on their depth to remain among the NBA’s elite clubs.
“That’s why you pay everybody,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after his role players stepped up in a 105-87 romp over the reeling Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “You don’t pay like two or three guys. You pay everybody on the team. And everybody that came in was ready to play.”
The Clippers are percentage points behind the second-place Denver Nuggets, with both looking up at the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers again will be without emotional leader Patrick Beverley, who sustained a sprained right wrist in Saturday’s loss to the Utah Jazz. He is expected to be out for several contests. Lou Williams, who missed the Sacramento game due to personal reasons, is listed as day-to-day.
Against the Kings, the Clippers prevailed despite Paul George and Kawhi Leonard enduring rough outings shooting. George just missed recording a triple-double, finishing with 21 points to go with season highs of 11 rebounds and nine assists but misfired on 6 of 25 shots from the floor, including 3 of 14 3-pointers. Leonard had 24 points but missed 13 of 21 shots and made just one 3-pointer in seven attempts.
However, Maurice Harkless (12 points), Derrick Walton Jr. (10 points) and Ivica Zubac (eight points, 13 rebounds) were among the Clippers who picked up the slack. They also contributed to a solid defensive effort.
“We held them to 40 (points) in the first half, 47 in the second,” Rivers said. “You can win a lot of games with your defense.”
Detroit was blown out at Utah by the Jazz 104-81 on Monday. Reserve guard Derrick Rose scored 20 points for the Pistons, who have dropped seven of eight. It was the second straight setback on their six-game road trip, which opened Saturday with a 136-109 rout by the San Antonio Spurs.
“I can’t put a finger on it right now but that’s why we’re pros. We have to figure it out,” Rose told reporters after the loss to Utah. “It’s going to be hard but that’s why we get paid the way we get paid. We got to figure out something.”
Andre Drummond finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and five steals against the Jazz. He also had three blocks but committed seven turnovers.
Injuries have also hurt the Pistons. Detroit played without Blake Griffin (knee), who is averaging a career-low 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds this season, Markieff Morris (foot) and Luke Kennard (knee).
In his last game at Staples Center almost a year ago against the Clippers, Griffin scored 44 points in a 109-104 win by the Pistons. It was his first game against Los Angeles after his former team traded him, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to Detroit for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and draft picks.
The Pistons are 4-12 on the road, while the Clippers are 14-3 at home.
–Field Level Media