Detroit was the final stop in a seven-game, 12-day road trip for the Clippers, and considering they were also without their best player (Elton Brand sat with back spasms), the Pistons knew coming in that it was just a matter of time before their opponent lost the energy to compete. How long did it take? Approximately 24 minutes. The Pistons built up a seven-point lead entering halftime, but they stormed out to start the third quarter with a 13-3 run from which the Clippers could never recover. From the Free Press:
Pistons coach Flip Saunders made sure his team knew how tired the Clippers would likely be.
"Yeah, (we told them) this morning," Saunders said. "Before the game, during the game, at the end of the game. We've all been there, so you know what it's like."
The road-weary Clippers shot just 32.4% from the field, scoring less than 20 in each of the final three quarters to finish with a season-low 74 points. The Pistons, on the other hand, relied on an extremely balanced and efficient attack from their starting lineup. All of the starters scored in double-digits though only one took more than 10 shots (Tayshaun Prince, who shot 6-11). As a unit, the starting five shot an impressive 55.5%.
Saunders said it best when he called this a "workman-like" effort. Aside from a handful of exciting highlights from Antonio McDyess (at least one powerful putback jam as well as three blocks), this game lacked much firepower and was more about taking care of business and getting ready for the Spurs. Four of the starters played 32 minutes or fewer, with Rip Hamilton leading the team with 35.
Random "going to the game" thoughts: As I mentioned in the preview, this was one of the rare games this year I actually attended in person.Courtesy of Natalie from Need4Sheed -- us Pistons bloggers are a friendly bunch. . Despite the final score, nothing beats actually watching the game live. For one, I'd much rather watch Automotion during breaks than see Tayshaun's Wallside Windows commercial five times. Plus, being able to see the whole court allows you to really watch the Pistons' offense flow, as well as keep an eye on Doug Christie to see if he's making "I love you" hand-signals to his wife. Good times, good times indeed.
Update: I should have linked to it earlier but forgot -- check out ClipperBlog for an extremely detailed account of last night's game. I don't know Kevin Arnovitz's background, but he picks up on the technical nuances of the game in ways that would make many coaches blush. (via TrueHoop)
Pistons 92, Clippers 74 box score [ESPN]
Preview: Sam Cassell is bringing sexy back