The Clippers (49-21) opened up a first quarter 36-23 lead on a lay-up by Chris Paul for two of his game-high 28 points. Paul also registered 15 assists getting his 6,000th career helper on a dish to Blake Griffin late in the first.
“It’s cool, it’s an honor.” Said Paul who reached the milestone in his eighth season and with Detroit Pistons hall-of-fame point guard Isaiah Thomas in attendance. “I don’t know what it means in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t even know I had 6,000 tonight.”
After having an 11-game winning streak snapped by the Nuggets in Denver Monday night, it looked as if the Clippers were easily on their way to starting another one.
That’s when Detroit made a furious rally going on a 24-7 run to take a 47-43 lead with just under five minutes left in the second quarter.
Jonas Jerebko lead five Pistons (25-43) in double-figures with 22 points including going 5-for-7 from the three-point arc.
“I am just trying to stay ready when my name is called.” Said Jerebko, a three-year veteran out of Sweden. “Tonight I saw the ball go through the rim a couple of times. It made the game come a lot easier to me.”
“In the first half I thought our defense was a bit sketchy.” Said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. “When you take four days off, you’re going to be sloppy and late on a lot of stuff. I thought we were that.”
The Clippers took a a 56-55 lead into the break and turned it up in the third quarter. Paced by Blake Griffin who scored 12 of his 25 points in the frame and turning up the defensive intensity, Los Angeles outscored Detroit 24-15 to take an 80-70 lead heading into the fourth and never looked back.
“We obviously had a poor second quarter,” said Griffin. “We can’t give up leads like that. I thought the coaches gave us the right talk in the locker room at halftime and we responded the right way.”
Starter Matt Barnes had 14 for the Clippers as did Danny Granger off the bench. Darren Collison knocked down 11 while Jamal Crawford – in his first game back after being sidelined with a strained calf – chipped in with nine as did DeAndre Jordan who also grabbed 12 boards.
The Clippers are back at Staples Center Monday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is set for 7:40.