L.A. Clippers at Detroit
Time: 6 PM CT (ESPN)
The Los Angeles Clippers may have parted ways with All-Star forward Blake Griffin, but it still sports a strong collection of veterans and a 27-25 mark, trailing No. 8 New Orleans by just a half-game in the standings.
The Clips have won two straight and travel to face the player they just dealt as Griffin and the Detroit Pistons are 4-point favorites at NBA Oddsmaker Bovada. The over/under is set at 220 points according to oddsmakers from the bookmaker, as well.
The game will air at 6 PM (Central) on ESPN.
Los Angeles may have dealt Griffin, but it still retained leading scorer Lou Williams and re-signed him to a contract. He is averaging 23.3 points 2.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 32.5 minutes a night. The Clippers seemingly have just slid new acquisition Tobias Harris directly into the role once occupied by Griffin, and the role has been a revelation for Harris.
Through his first two games (both wins) he averaged 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists per game while posting a PER of 17.4. Albeit, those figures are all shy of what Griffin did, but not tremendously so. Pairing Harris along with sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari gives the Clips a good 1-2 scoring punch in the frontcourt, and Austin Rivers is really pretty damn good for a guy who had already been billed a bust.
This year, Rivers is averaging 15.8 points and 3.6 assists per game in 32 minutes a night, thriving as a three-positional talent that surely was expected to be this good, if only on his father’s legacy. DeAndre Jordan was thought to be a trade target for several teams, but he remains in Los Angeles. ‘’
It was rumored the Clippers offered him to Houston in exchange for Clint Capela and were rebuked, but this writer makes no claim to such sources or validates the validity of said-rumors. No matter the case, Jordan forms the third part of a staunch frontline for the Clippers and the team hardly lacks in depth. Avery Bradley was also acquired with Harris, and he is generally regarded as one of the most underrated players and best one-on-one perimeter defenders in the Association. Bradley is averaging just 10 points and three assists through his first two games, but the last outing he was an efficient 6 of 10 from the floor with three steals.
He makes his impact, in short.
The Clippers might not be the chic pick as true contenders, but it reasons that L.A. can absolutely sneak into the playoffs and be a formidable opponent (in other words not be swept necessarily) to one of the top-tier teams in the West. The team has sufficient leadership, talent, and just because its identity is not really the same without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin does not mean that these pros cannot come together to gel quickly before the postseason arrives. L.A. should remain on the radar of dark horse sneaky teams that have gone under the radar.
The Pistons have won its last five games and are now 27-26 overall on the season. The Blake Griffin trade is working out, needless to say, for Detroit, too. Griffin has absolutely thrived under Stan Van Gundy and has yet to lose a game for Motor City. His averages of 21.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists have been done in 33 minutes a night with a Player Efficiency Rating of 22.6.
Blake once paired nicely with DeAndre Jordan and now pairs just as formidable with Andre Drummond.
Drummond has already played a point-center role at times, functioning as a passer in pick and rolls, and graciously setting himself in high post situations. His game has grown. Together with Griffin, Detroit may have dialed up the best 1-2 big man combination outside of what the New Orleans Pelicans had prior to DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending Achilles’ injury. The
Pistons will miss Bradley, but he really may have been a season rental at best as he is due to be a free agent and will command a max-contract most likely, as the trend has gone. Reggie Jackson is still functioning well as a scorer, but he has missed time with an ankle injury. The Pistons said he is due to return soon, but he is likely still out for this game. When the Pistons insert his 15 points a night, they will only grow tougher to beat. The Pistons are one of the hottest teams in the league, and Griffin still is a superstar. He may have declined in popularity, in status, whatever— he is still one of the tops at his position and can potentially change the fate of Detroit.