The Pistons are atop the NBA with a franchise-best 15-2 start.
The Clippers (14-6) have the league's third-best mark and lead the
The two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons have
won four straight on the road and are 10-1 away from home. Los
Angeles entered 9-1 at home, but the absence of starting forward
Corey Maggette for the third straight game was too much to
Elton Brand had 36 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who
were trying to sweep a five-game homestand for the first time since
1978-79, when the team was based in San Diego. The Clippers had won
14 of 15 home games against Eastern Conference teams, dating to a
double-overtime loss against Boston on Dec. 13, 2004.
The Clippers have lost six straight to Detroit and 15 of 19,
including a double-overtime defeat the last time the teams met at
Staples Center. The Pistons, who came in with the best
assist-to-turnover in the league, turned the ball over just four
times and finished with 24 assists.
Trailing by 14 points, the Clippers narrowed the gap to 92-84
with a 21-footer by Sam Cassell, a running hook shot by Cuttino
Mobley and a dunk by Chris Wilcox off a feed from Mobley with six
minutes to play. Their game plan the rest of the way was to keep
fouling Wallace, who was 5-for-20 from the line in the fourth
quarter and 7-for-22 for the game.
Wallace missed both attempts with 4:55 remaining, but grabbed
the rebound on the second and threw it out to Billups, who drained
a 3-pointer to give the Pistons a 97-86 cushion. The Clippers got
no closer than nine points after that. Wallace finished with 13
points and 12 rebounds.
Detroit committed one turnover in the first half while building
a 59-45 lead with 13 points from Billups. Rasheed Wallace's first
two baskets of the game were 3-pointers, one of which came during a
20-8 run over the final 5:25 of the second quarter.
Brand, who had a 15-point third quarter in Saturday night's
victory over Phoenix, scored 17 in the third against the Pistons.
But it hardly made a dent as Hamilton responded with 11 points in
the quarter including a 14-footer that gave Detroit its biggest
lead, 61-45, just 41 seconds after intermission.
Pistons assistant coach Ron Harper, who helped the Clippers
make the playoffs in 1992 and 1993 as a shooting guard, couldn't be
happier that his former team has gotten off to the second-best
20-game start in the franchise's 36-year history. "This is a great
place to play now," he said. ... The Clippers' next game is
Tuesday night at San Antonio against the defending champion Spurs,
who have won the last seven meetings and 27 of the last 30. Since
moving to Los Angeles, the Clippers are 9-58 against the previous
season's champion. ... Rasheed Wallace had 10 points after scoring
26 at Chicago and 22 at Golden State in Detroit's previous two
games. The last time he had three consecutive games with at least
20 points was April 3-6, 2003. ... The Clippers' only other home
loss was to Indiana.