Game Tips at 10:30 P.M. EST
Los Angeles Clippers: 1-8 (1-3 home)
Detroit Pistons: 2-6 (0-4 away)
Line: Clippers -1
If the Pistons are going to make something of this West Coast trip, they couldn't have been afforded a better opponent tonight, especially after Tuesday night's devastation. The Clippers are a reeling 1-8, but more encouraging to see than their record (they've actually had a very tough opening schedule), is their injury list, which, to some, might look like a pretty decent team roster.
Baron Davis (knee), Randy Foye (hammy), Eric Gordon (shoulder), DeAndre Jordan (knee) and Chris Kaman (knee) are all hampered with injuries. Davis, Foye and Kaman will miss tonight's game (and more), while Gordon and Jordan are game-time decisions. If Gordon and Jordan can't go, the Clippers will be missing their top two big men and three of their top guards.
You'd think this and a Vinny Del Negro coached team all bodes well for the Pistons, who are weak up front and have a strong back-court, but let's not forget that the Clippers also have highly touted rookies Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe and, yes, even Al-Farouq Aminu, who will undoubtedly keep in mind that the Pistons passed on him for Greg Monroe with the 7th pick in the draft.
Griffin plays with the kind of intensity that could translate into a 20-20 type night, with oodles of highlight reel dunks, against a relatively soft Pistons front-court. Bledsoe is averaging nearly 12 points and over seven assists per game since becoming the Clippers' starting point guard. Aminu is only averaging 13-plus minutes per game, but he's played well of late and could see extended time with all the Clippers' injuries.
For as bad as the Pistons have played out West in recent years, they've won 10 of their last 14 road games vs. the Clippers and are 14-3 against the Clippers over their last 17 meetings. The Clippers swept the season series last year.
Keys to the Game:
Contain Griffin: Luckily, with Kaman injured, the Pistons can put Ben Wallace on Griffin, who will likely play a lot of center. You can already tell that Griffin is the kind of player that's going to get his. The Pistons can't let him go off, though, because I've seen it happen and it's not fun to watch him do it against your team.
Move the Ball: The Pistons will do really well in this facet one game and then revert the next. The Clippers are hurting, so it should go without saying that the Pistons can break them down by continuously moving the ball. Wear 'em out.
Play Monroe, A Lot: What better game, when the opponent is dealing with front-court injuries, to play the rookie Monroad warrior? Further, what a great test it would be to see where Monroe's development is by playing him against fellow rookie big men. Piggybacking off of what Matt said earlier today, I actually think this would be a great game to give Monroe his first start. It won't happen, because Koostis said so, but he best be on the court a lot.
Question(s) of the Game:
What sign did heWizard decide to go with tonight? Seriously, I'm very anxious to see a DBB-themed sign behind the Pistons bench during timeouts, so you better not disappoint, heWiz!
Game-related question: Can the Pistons rebound from Tuesday? Well, they definitely better rebound, but how they respond tonight against what should be an inferior team will obviously be very telling.
Clips Nation -- and, apparently, Matt has a bet going with their Steve Perrin!