Not the City of Angels?



  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (23-41) at Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)
  • Date: March 10, 2013
  • Time: 9:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons are in the midst of a tough stretch. Lawrence Frank’s squad has won two of their last 10 games and the potential is there for a harsher reality.

The Pistons will start a four-game Western Conference road trip tonight at Staples Center. During the time away from home, Detroit will play against the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz (32-31), Golden State Warriors (35-29) and Portland Trail Blazers (29-32).

Tonight’s contest in Los Angeles will pit them against the third best team in the west.

For the most part, the Clippers have played like one of the best teams in the league this season and there is reason to believe this will be evident against Greg Monroe and company.

Chris Paul and his teammates have earned a reputation for highlight reel type plays.

It’s warranted.

Whether it’s Jamal Crawford embarrassing defenders with his superb ballhandling skills, Paul breaking down defenders and getting into the lane for a gorgeous floater or simply watching Blake Griffin commit basketball felonies by dunking on opponents with unparalleled aggression, the Clippers are arguably the best show in the league.

Oh, and while we’re at it, Jamal Crawford’s between the legs lob pass to Griffin earlier this week was a beauty.

Lost in the Clips’ entertainment value is the fact that they do some interesting things on both sides of the ball.

Their pick-and-roll game is quite lethal and leads to several high percentage shots within the vicinity of the basket. According to Team Rankings, Lob City scores 45.3 points in the paint per game, good for the fifth best mark in the league.

This is particularly pertinent entering tonight’s game because the Pistons are in the league’s bottom half in terms of allowing points in the paint. Frank’s interior defense is prone to surrendering shots on the inside, an area that Vinny Del Negro’s group will more than likely exploit.

The Pistons for their part will rely on that very same aspect and attack the Clippers on the interior tonight but it may produce mixed results. Frank’s unit produces 46 points in the paint on average, the second best mark in the league.

Between the post ups, drives and cuts to the basket, Detroit does a great job of manufacturing shots in the painted area.

There’s just one problem: the Clippers are great at limiting opponents on this front.

The Clips yield a mere 36.7 points in the paint per game, the second best figure in the league.

DeAndre Jordan and his teammates are great at hugging the paint and contesting shots on the interior to take away easy baskets.

When both teams faced off earlier in the season at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons were held to 34 points in the paint.

The Clippers boast a top 10 defense that can occasionally fluster teams, as Detroit knows all too well after scoring a mere 76 points against them on December 17th.

Del Negro’s defense places an emphasis on protecting the interior and forcing miscues with their hoard of athletes. Lob City’s defense forces the most turnovers in the league on a per game basis, which allows them to get out in transition and entertain the masses.

The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the best teams in the NBA, and tonight’s contest might just show Pistons fans why. They offer the theatrics on one end, but also buckle down and play very good defense on the other.

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