Detroit Pistons coach John Loyer was asked before Saturday’s game against the Clippers if he thought there was a chance the Clippers could come out and struggle because they hadn’t played since Monday. Loyer wasn’t buying it. “That’s a veteran team,” he said. The Clippers got off to a quick start and led by 13 points in the first quarter, yet were ahead by just a point at halftime. But Los Angeles got it together – at times, anyway – and eventually came away with a rather hard-fought 112-103 victory over the Pistons before a sellout crowd of 19,214 at Staples Center. A win is a win, but it came a little too tough against a team that entered with a record of 25-43. Detroit was within six points (100-94) with 3:50 to play before the Clippers closed it out. One of the keys was a third quarter during which the Clippers outscored the Pistons 24-15. Los Angeles, which actually led by as many as 16 points (74-58) in the quarter, played much better defense. When the third quarter began the Pistons were shooting 51.1 percent. When it ended, they were down to 42 percent. Los Angeles led 80-70 entering the fourth. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 28 points and 15 assists, including his 6,000th in the first quarter. “He’s an amazing point guard, one of the best of all time,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “And he played in front of one of the best of all time today in Isiah (Thomas),” who was on hand. Paul was asked if he had modeled himself after Thomas in any way. He answered in the negative. “He’s somebody that I’ve watched and admired and stuff like that,” Paul said. “Isiah is one of the greatest, one of the best to ever play the game. I think that fierceness that he played with, that edge ... and I’m not as quick and fast he ever was.” Thomas, who played for the Pistons, is seventh on the all-time list with 9,061 assists. Rivers admitted he was a bit concerned about how his team might fare because it had not played in a game since losing Monday at Denver. “First half, I thought it was sketchy,” he said of his team’s defense. “But in the thid quarter it was phenomenal. I thought we turned it on. I was worried about this game just from, you take four days off and you’re going to be sloppy and late on a lot of stuff. I thought we were that.
Clippers hold off Pistons for 112-103 victory
L.A. Daily News | Mar 23