LOS ANGELES — Bojan Bogdanovic had a good offensive night.
The same can’t be said for his teammates.
The veteran wing reached the 20-point threshold for the ninth time in 16 games, and in efficient fashion. But the Detroit Pistons shot 37.5% overall and couldn’t find an answer for a Clippers team that caught fire in the second half.
The Clippers defeated the Pistons, 96-91, to start Detroit’s six-game West Coast road trip.
Bogdanovic scored 26 points on 55.6% overall shooting (10-for-18) to go with three assists and three rebounds. Jaden Ivey finished with 18 points on 8-for-21 shooting, and Saddiq Bey had 11 points on 4-for-11. Jalen Duren flirted with a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
Former Piston Reggie Jackson led the Clippers with 23 points, and former Piston Marcus Morris Sr. added 16 points.
Clippers star Kawhi Leonard played for the first time since Oct. 23 and scored six points in 24 minutes.
The Pistons held Los Angeles to 42 points on 34.9% overall shooting in the first half, but the Clippers scored 54 points on 47.4% shooting in the second half. Detroit shot 37.5% on the night and was outscored 54-41 in the 2nd half.
Pistons start strong on defense, but struggle offensively
Before Thursday, the Pistons were the NBA’s worst first-quarter team. Per 100 possessions, they ranked last in net rating (minus-18.8) and also were last in field goal percentage (39.9%) and second-to-last in 3-point percentage (29.3%).
Their loss against the Clippers won’t improve their percentages much — they shot 42.1% overall and missed all four of their 3-point attempts. But it was their best defensive quarter of the season, by far. They held Los Angeles to just 15 points on 28.6% overall shooting, both season-lows for any Pistons opponent in the opening period. Detroit led, 23-15, after one.
But they couldn’t sustain it, and by the end of the third quarter, the Clippers held a 68-67 lead after outscoring the Pistons, 26-17, in the period. Los Angeles shot 50% (9-for-18 overall, 4-for-8 from 3) in the period. The Pistons were held to 29.2% overall shooting (7-for-24) and 20% shooting from 3 (2-for-10).
Stewart injury puts Bey back in starting five
Dwane Casey tweaked his rotation on Monday, moving Marvin Bagley III into the starting lineup alongside Isaiah Stewart and moving Saddiq Bey to the bench. Isaiah Stewart’s sprained right big toe, which could cause him to miss up to three weeks, forced Casey to unveil a different starting-five against the Clippers.
Bagley remained in the starting lineup, and Bey was promoted to replace Stewart. Before the game, Casey said he would stagger Bagley and Duren to avoid spacing issues. He did just that, but Duren ended up playing more minutes as Bagley struggled with foul trouble. He picked up his second foul with 6:13 in the first quarter, and picked up a tech in the second quarter after being hit with his third foul with more than six minutes to play until halftime.
Duren made good use of his early playing time, scoring all eight of his points and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.