The Detroit Pistons are on a two game road winning streak against Western Conference teams with one more to go. Can the Pistons go undefeated on a west coast trip?
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
When: 10:30 p.m. ET, Dec.13, 2014
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Pistons are coming off of a 95-90 win against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday who were without DeMarcus Cousins. This comes the day after a 105-103 win against the Phoenix Suns. Both of these games were on the road. The Pistons have a chance to go undefeated on a west coast trip for the first time since March of 2008 when they went 5-0 against the Nuggets, Clippers, Sonics, Trail Blazers and Suns. Not exactly a tip top list of teams back then.
During this winning streak, the Pistons have actually been shooting...better. Before the game Friday, the Pistons were shooting .404/.331/.693. Over the last two games they have shot .460/.286/.800. Obviously it is rather depressing that Stan Van Gundy has brought in four "elite" three-point shooters and yet we are still tied for 23rd in the league. If that ever takes off, watch out.
Josh Smith has played well over those two wins as well. He is averaging 16.5 points per game on 46.7-percent shooting (as compared to his season average of 38.9-percent) including pulling down 12 rebounds, dishing out four assists and even averaging 3.5 blocks per game. Whoever decides to try and trade for Josh Smith may end up with a steal (*wink* Sacramento).
On the flip side, the Los Angeles Clippers have been struggling. They also had a back-to-back Friday and Saturday, and theirs was on our coast. Friday they lost to the Washington Wizards in DC 104-96. They then lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee on Saturday, 111-106. These two losses came after a nine game win streak (including one against the Pistons in Detroit).
Chris Paul has never lost against the Detroit Pistons since joining the Los Angeles Clippers
Though I hope to be proven wrong, I do not expect that stat to change tonight.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Greg Monroe
It will be great to see how Greg Monroe does in his first start of the season that does not include the Big Three since Josh Smith was traded to the Sacramento Kings around lunch time Monday. In the last game the Pistons faced the Clippers, Greg Monroe struggled. He finished the game shooting 1-for-6 for six points to go along with nine rebounds. He only played 27 minutes while Josh Smith played a whopping 36. A better outing from him and the Pistons could pick up this win.
Clippers: Jamal Crawford
The last time the Pistons faced the Clippers, the reigning 6th man of the year torched the Pistons for 25 points on 8-for-16 shooting. However, with Jodie Meeks back in the lineup, Crawford will face two decent defenders on the offensive end and then have to chase around Jodie Meeks on the other end. If the Pistons can keep him in check, that bodes well for a possible win.
Last Time We Met
Nov. 26th, 2014 in Detroit. The Clippers beat the Pistons 104-98 after another fourth quarter collapse as they led by one going into the frame. Jamal Crawford led the way for the Clippers with 25 points on 8-for-16 shooting (3-for-8 from distance) followed by Chris Paul's 23 points (on 9-for-12 shooting). D.J. Augustin got the start at point guard as Brandon Jennings was out with a thumb injury. He would lead the Pistons with 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting. With Jennings out, Andre Drummond had a coming out party to the tune of 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting to go with 13 rebounds (six on the offensive side).
Chris Paul has never lost to the Pistons since he joined the Clippers, and I do not expect that to change in their house.
Clippers win 107-95.
Clippers: Spencer Hawes (Day-to-day), Reggie Bullock (Day-to-day)
Will this be Paul's first loss against the Pistons since joining the Clippers and Jennings' first win against a team in his home region?