Clippers defeat Pistons, 136-125

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
An early Detroit rally was not enough to defeat the Clippers.

Russell Westbrook made history in the Los Angeles Clippers win over the Detroit Pistons Friday. 

The Pistons hosted the red-hot LA squad for a matchup at Little Caesars Arena in which Detroit actually had a promising start. But if they had been keeping up with the Clippers this season, the Pistons would know not to count out LA until all 48 minutes are up. 

They found out Friday when the Clippers bounced back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Detroit, 136-125. 

“We had a bunch of defensive mistakes at the start of the game,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said postgame. “We weren’t guarding their shooters the way we planned, but we started paying attention to detail after the first timeout. Monty (Williams) has the Pistons playing pretty good basketball, but it is tough to close games with such a young team.”

Turning point: Detroit opened the game by jumping out with a 14-point lead in the first quarter. The Clippers rallied back with a 14-4 run thanks to Kawhi Leonard and a bench lineup to get back in the game.

As Pistons’ fouls increased throughout the first half Leonard’s shooting solidified. This helped LA reach a 65-59 lead at halftime. 

Detroit pulled within one in the third. Russell Westbrook hit a hot scoring streak soon after, and Norman Powell hit a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to give the Clippers the 101-90 advantage at the end of the quarter. 

A 12-0 Clippers run pushed them to an 18-point lead. From there they kept the momentum to another road victory.

What it means: LA advances to 4-1 on their current seven-game road tour. The team reached their 32nd win this season, and have claimed 15 of their last 18 games.

The Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves all sit with 15 losses. LA and the Timberwolves still have three more meetings this season. 

The team now holds both the best home record in the NBA since December 1st (14-1) and the best road record in the league since the same date (10-4).

Hits: The collective rally from the Clippers stood out from Friday’s action. While the team got off to a slow start, they scored 109 points in the final three periods. LA shot 59.6% from the floor and 48.3% from beyond the arc.

Misses: Clippers defensive center Ivica Zubac missed his ninth straight game of the season. He has eight more games he is permitted to miss before he is ruled as ineligible for Defensive Player of the Year or All-Defense honors.

Stat of the game: Russell Westbrook scored 23 points to reach his 2500th point. He is just the 25th player in NBA history with 25,000 points. 

Westbrook, who also leads the NBA in triple-doubles (198), joined Lakers star LeBron James as the only other player in league history with at least 25,000 points, 9,000 assists, and 8,000 rebounds.

“To see all the love and support here from the coaches, from my teammates… I’m truly grateful for that,” said Westbrook on the game broadcast, game ball in hand and a beaming smile on his face. 

Westbrook and James Harden also make record books as the first teammates to hit 25,000 points in the same season.

Up next: The Clippers will face Detroit once again as soon as next week on Feb. 10 in LA. 

Until then they have a jam-packed week ahead with four games scheduled. LA will wrap up their road series with a back-to-back Feb. 4 and 5 against the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. 

The Clippers return to Arena Feb. 7 to host the New Orleans Pelicans.