Consistency is the biggest issue for the Detroit Pistons, who will try to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. The Pistons traded wins and losses in each of their first five games and are coming off perhaps their best performance of the season -- a 122-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Detroit will get its biggest test of the young season this weekend with a back-to-back at the Clippers and the defending champion Golden State Warriors, but it certainly looked up to any challenge on Wednesday. “Thirty-two assists and everybody got involved in moving the ball,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. “It was really good. Really sharp. (Wednesday‘s) sort of what we want it to look like. It always looks better when the ball’s going in the basket. But we need to play that way and for some of our guys this is really different. We’re trying to play with a lot more movement.” Los Angeles remains undefeated thanks to star forward Blake Griffin, who buried a last-second 3-pointer in Thursday’s 104-103 win at Portland. Griffin is settling nicely into his role as the team’s undisputed leader after Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets over the summer.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, FS Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (3-2): Tobias Harris led the way with 34 points on Wednesday and went 6-of-9 from 3-point range, to the delight of his teammates. “Shooting the (darn) 3-ball like he’s supposed to instead of putting the ball on the floor when he’s open,” Pistons center Andre Drummond told reporters in assessing Harris’ performance. “I’m really happy about that. He’s shooting the wide-open 3. It’s good to see him playing so well.” Harris is averaging a team-high 23.6 points and is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor, including 46.9 percent from beyond the arc.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (4-0): Griffin scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter on Thursday and went 10-of-16 from the floor in 40 minutes. Griffin, who is shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range, scored at least 22 points in each of Los Angeles’ first four games and leads the team in assists (4.5) with point guard Milos Teodosic dealing with a foot injury. Griffin is not the only star player left on the Clippers, and center DeAndre Jordan hauled in 18 rebounds for the second straight game on Thursday while recording a season-best three blocks.
1. Pistons SF Reggie Bullock served a five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy and is eligible to return Saturday.
2. Los Angeles G Austin Rivers scored 16 points in each of the last two games but injured a finger in the closing moments of Thursday’s win.
3. Detroit snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series with a 108-97 home win on Nov. 25, 2016.
PREDICTION: Pistons 106, Clippers 101