Detroit — The Pistons’ struggles in the fourth quarter continued for a second straight game. After going the first 11-plus minutes in Friday’s loss to the Boston Celtics, their issues came on the defensive end, where they couldn’t slow the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Pistons built an 18-point lead in the second quarter, but the Clippers got a big hand from their three former Pistons in mounting their comeback in a 106-102 victory Sunday.
Marcus Morris Sr., Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson keyed the comeback, pulling ahead with a big fourth quarter, including Kennard scoring 11 of his 16 points in the period.
When the Pistons got within one point with 3:06 left on a Cade Cunningham drive, Jackson answered with a 3-pointer at the 1:39 mark to push the lead to four. Morris added a jumper with 36.5 seconds remaining to give the Clippers (36-34) their largest lead to that point.
Cunningham (21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) scored a pair of baskets in the final minute but Morris, who had a season-high 31 points, had a jumper and two free throws and Jackson a drive in the final stretch to put the game away.
The Pistons (18-50) had a 14-point lead at halftime, but the Clippers had a 31-19 margin in the third quarter to cut the lead to 72-70 entering the fourth, with back-to-back baskets by Ivica Zubac (14 points and 15 rebounds). Jackson opened the second half with a 3-pointer and a lay-in for the clippers and Morris added nine points to set up the final stretch.
Jerami Grant (21 points and five rebounds) hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter and Marvin Bagley III (15 points and eight rebounds) had a tip-in to give the Pistons an 80-75 lead at the 10:14 mark.
Morris hit a free throw and a jumper and Terrance Mann added a jumper to tie the game at 80, but Grant hit a free throw and Cunningham scored a lay-in to regain the lead.
Isaiah Hartenstein (12 points) and Kennard combined for the Clippers’ next 17 points, including three 3-pointers by Kennard. The last 3-pointer put Los Angeles ahead, 97-92 with 4:36 left.
The Pistons had one final push, with an alley-oop from Cunningham to Bagley and a drive by Cunningham, to trim the lead to one at the 3:06 mark, but Jackson’s 3-pointer proved critical, and the Clippers help on to the lead.