Los Angeles Clippers vs. Detroit Pistons
7:30 p.m. PST
December 15, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
This is so sad.
1. The Pistons have won two in a row. Are they starting to improve from second-worst in the East?
Dan Feldman, Piston Powered, (@DanFeldmanNBA): Yes, though that’s obviously a low bar to clear. The Pistons weren’t as bad as their record, and they’ve seemingly emerged from their lowest depths. Detroit remains a talented but flawed team. In the East, that’s good for better than second-worst, though the valleys for such a team puts it right in the basement.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): While road wins over the Suns and the DeMarcus Cousins-less Kings are impressive based off the Pistons’ play to date, it’s way too early to claim they’ve turned a corner. This is still the team that lost 13 games in a row before their last two wins and has been miserable on both ends of the floor. Detroit might be playing marginally better, but it’s still arguably the biggest disappointment of the season.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Sure, they’re better if only because they’re winning. That doesn’t mean they’re good, though. It doesn’t mean Stan Van Gundy has figured out the jumbled frontcourt. It doesn’t mean Brandon Jennings has become another human being. Detroit is still a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the East.
2. The Clippers have lost two in a row. Reason for concern or no big deal?
Feldman: No big deal. Losing in Washington to a good Wizards team is understandable. So is closing a road trip the next night with a loss in Milwaukee to a frenetic Bucks team. These are the reasons there’s so much discussion about whether the season is too long.
Buha: No bid deal. Chris Paul is due for a bad game or two over the course of the season; he just happened to have two of them consecutively for the first time in forever. The Wizards and Bucks, though they play in the East, are still decent teams, and losses to them—especially as uncharacteristic as they were—aren’t anything to sweat over. It’s unfortunate, given the nature of the West standings, but it won’t be a problem unless it drags on into the week.
Katz: No big deal. Washington is legit. You could argue that’s the best team in the East right now, and the way the Wizards defended against the Clippers shows why. Meanwhile, losing on the second night of a road back-to-back is almost never a bad loss.
3. What’s the key matchup in this game?
Feldman: Chris Paul vs. Brandon Jennings. When the Pistons and Clippers meet, Paul typically controls the game on both ends of the floor with little discomfort. For Detroit to have a chance, Jennings has to disrupt Paul at least a little bit. When the Clippers star faces no resistance, he makes the game easy for all his teammates, and that’s just too much for the Pistons to overcome.
Buha: Josh Smith vs. the world. When Smith has played small forward against the Clippers in recent seasons, he has been effective posting up his smaller defender and then either scoring/drawing a foul and/or kicking out to shooters. If he can find ways to attack Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes effectively, Smith is the type of x-factor who can swing a game. Or, you know, he can just continue chucking up 20-footers and shoot the Pistons out of it. We’ll see tonight.
Katz: Chris Paul vs. the Pistons defense. CP3 has turned it over six times in each of the past two Clippers games, both losses. It’d be hard to say that’s going to happen again tonight. Jennings could be in for a difficult night.