LOS ANGELES – A long home nine-game homestand ended in a battle as the Los Angeles Clippers (37-18) held off the lowly last place Detroit Pistons (16-38) Sunday night defeating the Motor City visitors, 131-124. In a game that was set to appear easier on paper, the Clippers struggled to fend off a hot shooting Pistons team until the very last quarter.
“They got everything they wanted,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought we were slow to the ball on those 50-50 balls, but you got to give them credit. They ran some good stuff, made some tough shots.”
With superstar Kawhi Leonard on the bench for rest purposes, it was up to Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. to pick up the slack as the team won their fifth straight game to end their homestand.
George who finished the night with his third straight 30 point plus outing, carried the team from start to finish as he ended the night with 32 points and 9 assists. Despite only knocking down one three throughout the night, George was aggressive going to the basket, including an empathic one-handed jam in the fourth quarter that would give Los Angeles the lead for good down the stretch.
“Yeah, I’m looking to dunk that,” George said. “He was way under the basket, how the night was going, I wasn’t getting no calls, so I knew I just had to be aggressive and just finish at the rim.”
For Morris, the veteran scored a season high 33 points and proving that he still has some juice left in his scoring tank. Marking only the second time this season cracking 30 points, Morris knocked down 6 threes throughout the game including 3 of those in the first quarter.
But for coach Lue, despite the big scoring effort from Morris and George, he felt his best players came off the bench to help secure the victory.
“Marcus of course, scoring the basketball and PG,” Lue said. “But I thought Nic (Batum) came in, changed the game. Him and Rondo off the bench.”
With guard Patrick Beverley breaking a bone in his hand during the game against the Phoenix Suns, head coach Tyronn Lue turned to guards Reggie Jackson and Rajon Rondo to fill the void left by the scrappy Beverley.
The duo combined for 22 points on the night, as Rondo played 21 minutes, the most court action the veteran has seen in his three games of play since joining the team at the trade deadline.
The Clippers finished their homestand with a 7-2 record and now hit the road for the next week as they take on the Indiana Pacers (25-27) Tuesday night in Indianapolis. The team will play 11 of their last 17 games on the road with only 6 games left at home on the season.
Their return home will be a welcome sight as the team will welcome fans into Staples Center for the first time in over a year as the state’s restrictions have loosened, allowing a limited capacity for the rest of the season.
Featured Image: Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Marcus Morris Sr. attempts to get to the basket ahead of the defense by Detroit Pistons forward Josh Jackson (20) during an NBA game played April 11, 2021. The Clippers, behind 33 points from Morris, defeated the Pistons 131-124 at STAPLES Center. Photo credit: Ser Baffo/News4usonline