Of all the troubling leftovers from their 30-point loss to the Lakers on Friday was this tidbit: The Clippers couldn't seem to make an outside jump shot. They weren't very good inside, either, making only 29 of 81 (35.8%) overall. Worst of all were their 12 misses in 14 attempts from behind the three-point arc.
Opponents recently have determined that the way to defeat the Clippers is to double-team power forward Elton Brand, hoping to weather the storm from the outside. Sometimes it backfires. Just ask the Seattle SuperSonics, who lost to the Clippers by 20 points on Wednesday.
But the Lakers muzzled Brand, who had a season-low five points, and watched with glee as Quentin Richardson (one for eight), Corey Maggette (one for 10) bricked shot after shot from the outside.
The Clippers will not have shooting guard Eric Piatkowski for the seventh game in the last eight today against the Detroit Pistons because of a strained right hip flexor. Piatkowski has made 24 of 47 (51.1%) three-point tries, fourth-best in the NBA.
"All in all, they did a great job of defending against us," Clipper Coach Alvin Gentry said of the Lakers. "They never gave any room for Elton to operate. And we didn't get any perimeter shots.....We've got to create perimeter shots and we've got to knock them down."We're not saying, 'Oh my gosh, we lost by 30 points.' We don't have a choice but to forget the game. The bottom line is that it's yesterday's news."
With that in mind, Gentry focused the team's attention Saturday on today's game against the Central Division-leading Pistons.
"I'm sure the Lakers didn't harp on their loss [Tuesday] to Seattle," Gentry said. "If we know we're going to win seven out of every 10 games [as the Clippers have], then we'll take a 30-point loss in that 10th game."
vs. Detroit, 12:30
Records--Clippers 12-11, Pistons 14-6.
Record vs. Pistons (2000-01)--2-0.
Update--No question, the Pistons are among the league's surprising teams. Gentry said Detroit's Rick Carlisle has his vote as coach of the year. Jerry Stackhouse leads the team with averages of 21.9 points and 6.1 assists.