Pistons vs. Clippers preview: Detroit must outmuscle LA’s defense

Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons are living that LA life post-Thanksgiving, first with a matchup against the pesky Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are led by Paul George and are a tougher matchup than people really expect. This is thanks to the team’s second-ranked defense that trails only the Golden State Warriors.

That stout defense is allowing them to survive games even when their shots aren’t falling and their bench isn’t giving them a huge lift, which has been a pretty common occurrence in the season’s first few dozen games. The Pistons, meanwhile, will once again have Isaiah Stewart available, which should allow them a better rim protector and threat to score down low if teams are not paying attention. After a couple really unfortunate fourth-quarter collapses recently, Detroit will be looking to finally close out a win on this road trip.

Game Vitals

When: 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +10

Analysis

As always, the first thing to think about with the Clippers is the trio of former Detroit Pistons. Reggie Jackson appears to have found a home in LA even as he hasn’t quite been able to replicate the superstar success he found during the Clippers’ playoff run last season.

Jackson is averaging 18.3 points and 3.9 assists per game this season, but hitting just 40% from the floor and 34% from distance. Luke Kennard is again serving as the offensive sparkplug off the bench. Kennard shoots 68% of all his shots from the 3-point line, and he’s connecting on 44% of his treys. But his defensive limitations are still keeping him from being fully embraced by Ty Lue and the Clippers coaching staff.

Marcus Morris, meanwhile, has been MIA with a left knee issue and played his first game back and third game overall Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. He understandably struggled, finishing the night with 10 points on 12 shots. He’ll likely still be shaking off the rust tonight against Detroit.

The Clippers are led by Paul George, and while historically your ceiling is going to be limited any time your best player is named Paul George, he seems to getting just a little bit better on offense every single year, and now he doesn’t look terribly miscast as a team’s alpha scorer.

He’s carrying for too large of a load, and it’s forced his efficiency to take a huge hit as the Clippers bottom-10 offense continues to try and sort itself out, but George is capable of having huge nights, and he can score in a variety of ways on every level of the floor.

The Clippers’ secret weapon, and the reason Pistons fans should be happy to have Stewart back is that Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein can just do enough little things to really frustrate you and help their teammates get open looks.

For Detroit, I just really want to see a solid, efficient night from Cade Cunningham after a couple gnarly looking duds. Also, maybe a big posterizing dunk from Saben Lee. That would make me thankful on this Black Friday.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (4-14)
Cory Joseph, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Los Angeles Clippers (10-8)
Reggie Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, Paul George, Marcus Morris, Ivica Zubac

Question of the Game

What’s your go-to meal for the day after Thanksgiving?

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