Los Angeles Clippers (27-25) at Detroit Pistons (27-26)
We picked up a bit of a weird win last night. We backed the Portland Trailblazers at home against the Charlotte Hornets. I predicted the Hornets would come out flat on the road and that this game wouldn’t be overly competitive.
The Blazers jumped out to a 20-5 first-quarter lead, and I turned the game off, feeling like I nailed this pick. I checked back in at the start of the fourth quarter and saw the Blazers were still cruising, up fourteen points. Then things got a little crazy as the Hornets went on a furious fourth-quarter run, closing out the game 32-18 in the fourth, and forcing overtime. The Blazers managed to dominate overtime, and we picked up the 109-103 win and covered the four-point spread.
It is hard to say we got lucky to win this game as the Hornets were down double digits the entire game but covering four points in overtime was nice, and we will take the win. Today we will break down a very intriguing matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons.
The Los Angeles Clippers will head to Detroit for game one of a seven-game road trip, to face the Pistons. The Clippers must feel a little bit picked on right now as they just lost their best player in Blake Griffin, and now must go on a borderline absurd road trip that includes both east coast and west coast games.
The Pistons went all-in on a playoff push when they acquired Griffin from the Clippers last week, and it appears to be working out, as they are undefeated since making the move. The Pistons are -3.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 219 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Little Caesars Arena.
It must have been a rough night for the Los Angeles Clippers last night. They had the night off on the court but had to sit around and wonder which other of its star players were going to be traded away next.
They lost Chris Paul and J.J. Reddick in the offseason. Then they traded away Blake Griffin last week and had to sit around hearing major trade rumors involving Deandre Jordan and Lou Williams. Jordan and Williams somehow survived the night and are still Clippers, but that doesn’t mean the Clippers weren’t very openly shopping them to anyone that would listen. It has to be hard knowing your team doesn’t want you, nor do they really want to win this year.
The Clippers have played well since trading away its face of the franchise and best player last week when they sent Griffin to the Pistons. But tonight marks the start of one of the nastiest road trips I remember seeing in a long time.
The Clips have to play at Detroit, then travel to Philly, Boston, and Brooklyn, before heading all the way back to the west coast to play at Golden State, Phoenix, and Denver. Oh, and when they finally get home? They have to play against an elite Houston Rockets team. Rough stretch to say the least.
Maybe this is why the Clips started the fire sale, they knew this brutal stretch was coming and decided to throw in the towel on the season and start over. Whatever the case may be, I just don’t know how much energy this Clippers team is going to have tonight. They lost most of their best players, and the ones they managed to keep know they won’t be their much longer. That is not a great environment to win basketball games.
The Detroit Pistons are on the exact opposite side of things than the Clippers right now. They had a mediocre product on the floor and management decided they wanted to take a swing for the fences and made the big move to acquire Griffin.
The team has responded and is undefeated since the move and went from out of the playoff picture, to now tied for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The way this team is playing right now they are a lock to make the playoffs. What a difference a week can make, right?
And it hasn’t just been Griffin leading the way, although the superstar has played very well and led the team in scoring each game. Andre Drummond has been an absolute animal on the boards, averaging over twenty rebounds a game since Griffin joined the team. Drummond had 27 boards, including seven on the offensive glass, in the Pistons last game, a 115-106 win against the Nets.
This game has to be a kick in the stomach for the Clippers. They signed Griffin to a deal that Griffin said at the time would make him a Clipper for life. Now just a couple of months later he has been traded and gets to play against his old team.
I could see Griffin coming out all kinds of fired up tonight. We saw what Griffin looked like when Chris Paul came back to town, that game almost erupted into a fistfight several times. I expect that same level of intensity tonight from Griffin as he faces a team that threw him away.
To me, this game isn’t a close one. The Pistons are fired up and have everything to play for. The Clippers? They are just lucky that management left them with a couple of players to use tonight. I expect Griffin to be explosive, Drummond to dominate, and the Clippers to lay down. It wouldn’t shock me to see this game get completely out of hand at some point.
Give me the Detroit Pistons in a blowout tonight at home -3.5 points.