Theoretically, there’s still hope for the Detroit Pistons to make the postseason, but that light is dimming after a 112-103 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin put in another superstar duo performance, which should worry any team that might encounter them in the Western conference.
Paul reached 6000 career assists with his double double: He had 28 points, 15 assists and also six steals, enjoying his minutes when Brandon Jennings was guarding him. Blake Griffin finished with 25 points, once again displaying his newly found shooting range as opposed to just dunking the ball and being completely reliant on someone else creating the shots for him. He also had 7 rebounds and 7 assists, hitting 12-of-17 shots.
The Clippers shot very well, 54.2% from the field, against a Pistons team that will look at this season and try to understand what went wrong along the way. How come Josh Smith shot so much, and what were they thinking when they gave Brandon Jennings so much freedom in running the team. The two players combined to shoot 11-of-32 from the field, as things looked a lot better when Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey were in the backcourt while both Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe did a very good job in the paint, at least when compared with the rest of their teammates.
So the Pistons drifting 7.5 games behind the 8th spot in the East is sad, but the Clippers didn’t really mind. They enjoyed an excellent offensive performance. There’s excellent basketball to be seen from this team when Chris Paul is at his best, and if it wasn’t for Matt Barnes a bit too trigger happy (2-of-10 from beyond the arc) their night would have turned into a much more relaxed one a lot sooner.
Danny Granger had a good game off the bench with 14 points, and the Clippers are hoping that his shooting form continues to be this good. One of their problems last year against the Grizzlies in the postseason was not having someone who stretches the floor. This year has shown the Clippers trying to change their image – not just lob city, but simply a very good team; a team that can hurt you in more than just one way, and not just relying on creating open floor opportunities.
How does this end for the Clippers? We know what’s in store for the Pistons. Another lottery pick, a lot of contemplating about Greg Monore, Joe Dumars possibly fired and hoping to find someone willing to pick up Josh Smith or Brandon Jennings via trade.
The Clippers? A bit more happy thoughts going into April. They’re hoping they might move up in the world, which means a better seeding in the West, but it’s tough to see that happening. The road to the championship, or at least the Western conference finals, go through plenty of road games, and for the first time since his arrival, it’s not only up to Chris Paul to navigate this team safely through the unfavorable odds.