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Pistons vs Clippers preview: No CP3, no problem

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers currently hold the best record in the NBA and are the only remaining undefeated team. This is a pleasant surprise start for one of the most tormented teams over the past few seasons, who by trading away their best player in Chris Paul, are hoping to hit the refresh button and restart their chase to be title contenders.

And while the CP3 trade wasn’t the most popular move among NBA writers and media pundits, the Clippers were able to net a solid return, acquiring defensive ball-hawk Patrick Beverly, annual sixth man of the year contender Lou Williams, and promising young players in Montrezl Harrell, and Sam Dekker. But the most obvious reason for the Clippers’ hot start is due to the play of Blake Griffin.

Griffin was commonly thought of a top-10 NBA player, prior to the infamous restaurant scrap of 2016. Since then Griffin has been plagued with strange injuries, having played only 35 games in 2015-16, and 61 games last season. So far this season, it appears that Griffin has returned to his All-Star form, as he’s been going off, averaging a career high 26.3 points, while chipping in 9.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game, shooting an astronomical 54% from the floor and 43% from three. Yes, it’s early, and these shooting numbers are bound to dip a bit, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Griffin is BALLIN’.

Griffin’s Clips aren’t only the best team in the league (by record) they’re statistically one of the strongest teams. Take a look.

Clippers Team Statistics and Rankings

1st- Defensive Rating (91.9), Net Rating (19.4), Turnover Percentage (13%), Player Impact Estimate (60.2)

3rd- Offensive Rating (111.3), Rebound Percentage (53.7%)

6th- Points Per Game (111), Three Point Percentage (37.1%)

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Detroit will be bringing their 11th ranked offense into Staples Center, and if they’re going to escape LA with a win, they’ll have to contain Griffin. He’s by far their main source of offense, and is the Clips primary playmaker. And while Tobias Harris physically matches up well with the former Oklahoma Sooner, he’s struggled guarding some of the top 3s and 4s in the league, especially strong back to basket players (see games against Cleveland).

Luckily for Detroit, they’ve been playing a strong brand of basketball themselves. They’ll have Andre Drummond coming off a solid 15 and 15 performance, Avery Bradley’s last game was by far his best in a Pistons uniform, Tobias Harris is looking like a sure fire All-Star, and Reggie Jackson is looking healthy and ready to facilitate. If Detroit wants be taken seriously in the East, a win against the Clippers will certainly go a long way.

Community Question

Will the Pistons find a way to knock off the last remaining undefeated team? If so, how?