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Pistons vs. Clippers final score: Detroit ends losing skid against Los Angeles, wins 108-97

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Everyone has a hand in outlasting NBA’s best team for thrilling victory at the Palace

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons finally, FINALLY beat the Los Angeles Clippers. But after losing 11 in a row and with the Clippers playing better than ever before, you knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

It’s not going to be easy when JJ Redick shows off to his former coach and mentor Stan Van Gundy to the tune of 24 points, including 18 in the third quarter.

You know it’s not going to be easy when Chris Paul dishes out 15 assists.

It’s not going to be easy when the Clippers enter the night undefeated on the road this season.

And you really know it’s not going to be easy when the Clippers have an astronomical free-throw advantage of 20-of-26 compared to 5-of-7.

But the Pistons found a way to get it done.

Andre Drummond outplayed DeAndre Jordan with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. He also had some choice alley-oop dunks and just one ill-advised post-up attempt.

Ish Smith stepped up to the challenge of facing Chris Paul head on, playing pesky defense and contributing 16 points, seven assists and no turnovers.

The versatile Tobias Harris helped propel the Pistons to a big lead with Drummond and Marcus Morris sidelined with early foul trouble. Harris had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

When an 18-point lead suddenly morphed into a two-point deficit early in the fourth quarter it was Darrun Hilliard (playing for a suspended Stanley Johnson) and Morris who kept the Pistons alive, hitting key jumpers.

Finally, there was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who continues to show a maturing offensive game. KCP hit four of his six 3-point attempts, dished a career-high 10 assists and finished with 16 points.

The end result was a thrilling victory, but for a large section of the second half it seemed tailor made to end up the exact kind of loss the young, Reggie Jackson-less Pistons have been known for.

The Clippers, meanwhile, never seemed phased, even when trailing by 18. The methodically chipped away at Detroit’s lead behind intense defense, lights-out perimeter shooting, and a veteran savvy that coaxed fouls both real and imagined.

A Raymond Felton layup with 10 minutes remaining gave the Clippers their first lead since early in the first quarter. The Pistons’ offense was in disarray and the Clippers were leading with a bench unit on the floor.

Things didn’t look good for the Pistons.

Then, Hilliard, who hadn’t seen meaningful minutes all season, decided he wasn’t ready to let the game slip away. He hit a jumper to tie the game and then hit another with a foul to put the Pistons back up three.

Morris then hit a sideline jumper with the clock running out,a top of the key 3-pointer and an 18-footer and the Pistons were suddenly up eight. The Clippers never seriously threatened again.

Detroit climbs back up to within a game of .500 at 8-9 and are set to embark on a tough four-game road trip against the Thunder, Hornets, Celtics and Hawks.

When that trip ends Reggie Jackson should be back on the floor and the Pistons can really find out what they are made of. Tonight, they proved they can play with anybody in the NBA.