The Detroit Pistons are looking for their third(?!?!) win in a row, but face among the toughest tests in the NBA as they visit Crypto.com Arena to battle the Los Angeles Clippers. Behind stellar play from Kawhi Leonard, premier coaching from Ty Lue, and contributions up and down the lineup, the Clippers are playing truly great ball. This isn’t going to be like battling a limited Portland Trail Blazers team and winning out in OT.
The Clippers are 26-6 since the start of December and while they are coming off a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, they have dropped two in a row just once since Nov. 17. The good news for the Pistons is that the young pillars — particularly Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, and Marcus Sasser — are playing the best basketball of their careers lately. Ivey, who has been electric getting to the rim this season, was just 1-of-14 inside the arc against the Blazers, but still managed to score 26 points and net all seven of his threes. Duren, meanwhile, powered his way to a 27-point, 22-rebound game. Not to be out done, Sasser had a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 11 assists.
The other small bit of good news for the Pistons, one of the many players they traded for should be available to suit up. Simone Fontecchio, who is coming from the Jazz, is playing. He will likely come off the bench in his first game in Detroit, but I imagine he is being earmarked for a starting spot at small forward in the near future.
The other players the Pistons traded for — Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, Troy Brown Jr., and Shake Milton — are all still unavailable. Isaiah Stewart is also still out with an ankle injury. Detroit’s two-way players, Stanley Umude and Jared Rhoden, should be in uniform for the second consecutive game.
When: 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +16.5
Detroit Pistons (8-43)
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Mike Muscala, Jalen Duren
Los Angeles Clippers (34-16)
James Harden, Terance Mann, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Ivica Zubac