The banged up Detroit Pistons, without regulars Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, Markieff Morris, and Reggie Jackson, continued their losing ways by falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 126-112.
Most of the first half saw the Clips and Pistons teeter-totter until the Pistons got sloppy with the basketball and Lou Williams began draining tough shots, which led to a Clippers run to dart in front 69-63 at the break.
Detroit lived in the paint for a large chunk of the half. Bruce Brown set up his tent and the Clippers couldn’t do much of anything about it. The Pistons bench scored 40, as Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, Langston Galloway and Brown all scored between nine and 11 points. Tony Snell led the starters with 10.
Speaking of starters. Pistons 19-year-old rookie Sekou Doumbouya started his first NBA game and played 16 minutes in the opening half. He battled his best with Kawhi Leonard and at times Maurice Harkless. Doumbouya had some 19-year-old errors, but he asserted himself on both ends otherwise. Doumbouya grabbed six rebounds and shot 1-of-6 with mostly smart shot selection.
After halftime the Clippers imposed their will (and their talent) on the Pistons and started to run away with it, putting a 37-16 quarter up no sweat. Paul George (hamstring tightness) scored 12 points in the first, though did not play in the second half and he certainly didn’t need to. The Clippers largest lead was 31 but was shaved down to 10 a few times late in the game.
Leonard scored 18 points on 16 shots, however, his teammates Williams, Harkless and Montrezl Harrell (team-high 23 points) were most impressive.
Doumbouya finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. There was a lot to like out of the youngster tonight.
Thon Maker played 14 second-half minutes and was encouraging with 10 points and a couple of steals. Bruce Brown led nine double-digit Pistons scorers with 15.
Detroit really couldn’t splash anything tonight, shooting 7-of-33 from downtown. 21%.
Detroit will play in Oakland Saturday night against the also lottery bound Golden State Warriors.