There is nothing more appropriate than Josh Jackson leading the team in shots in the Detroit Pistons’ 131-124 loss to the LA Clippers on Sunday. It was an extremely Josh Jackson game for both squads.
Defense was intense but each team just kept trading offensive body blows, nailing 3-pointers, hitting step-back jumpers, and driving into the lane. Things didn’t slow down at all until about 7 minutes into the fourth quarter when the Pistons finally ran out of gas.
Coming on the second night of a back-to-back on the final game of a West Coast swing without its best player in Jerami Grant, the odds were always long Detroit would be able to make a game of it much less pull out a victory.
But true to form for this season, Detroit battled all night and played its butt off. There was simply a talent deficit they couldn’t overcome.
The head of that talent deficit tonight was Paul George and former Piston Marcus Morris. They kept firing, and kept sinking just about every shot. Morris led all scorers with 33 while George wasn’t far behind with 32 of his own.
Detroit was led by Jackson’s 26 points. There were also nice moments for Saddiq Bey (25 points) and Isaiah Stewart (7 points including a 3). Each Pistons starter finished in double figures and got 16 points from Frank Jackson off the bench.
There was no Killian Hayes for Detroit or Kawhi Leonard for the Clippers as coaches held both out for rest. Detroit was also without Jerami Grant for the fourth straight game with a sore right knee.
Cory Joseph filled in admirably for Hayes and Dennis Smith Jr., who was also held out, with 18 points and 13 assists.
Detroit’s problem was they simply had no answer for the array of firepower the Clippers could enjoy. The Clippers shot better than 62% from the field and 57% from 3 with 15 made treys. Aside from George and Morris, former Piston Luke Kennard had 11 points and Reggie Jackson had 12. The two were also the only two players for Los Angeles with a negative plus-minus on the night with a -16 and -13, respectively. There’s some poetry to that.
The two teams will face off again on Wednesday in Detroit.