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Clippers beat Pistons, 88-76, run winning streak to 10 games

After a four-game, eight-day trip, they are one shy of the franchise record for consecutive victories. Blake Griffin scores 15 points, Chris Paul scores 14.

December 18, 2012|By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
  • Blake Griffin drives past Pistons big man Andre Drummond.
Blake Griffin drives past Pistons big man Andre Drummond. (Kirthmon F. Dozier / MCT )

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — — It was the end of a four-game, eight-day trip and the Clippers' opponent was a not-so-good Detroit Pistons team.

It would have been easy for the Clippers to give in to the elements, to play for another day even though a winning streak was on the line.

Instead, the Clippers played enough solid defense and got just enough contributions to pull out an 88-76 victory over the Pistons on Monday night.

"Tonight was a game maybe earlier in the season we would have lost," Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "So hopefully we're learning how to win together when things aren't going perfectly and we've got to find a way. And tonight things definitely weren't perfect, but we found a way."

And by finding a way with five players scoring in double figures, the Clippers now have a 10-game winning streak, one shy of the franchise record set by the Buffalo Braves during the 1974-75 season.

"I think that's the most wins I've ever had in a row since I've been in the league," said Chris Paul, a seven-year veteran who finished with 14 points and seven assists. "It's pretty cool, obviously. The locker room is a lot funnier. Your food taste better. You sleep a little bit better. It's nice to win, especially when you do it in a row."

The Clippers also have a five-game road winning streak, trying the franchise record also set by Buffalo in 1974-75.

The Clippers won all four games on this trip, making it the first time they have swept a trip that lasted four games or longer.

"We've been on the road for about eight days now," Del Negro said. "To get the fourth one was a good test for us. It wasn't perfect from the standpoint of execution, but we'll take the results."

The 76 points the Clippers gave up to the Pistons (7-20) tied a season low for an L.A. opponent.

The Clippers put the clamps on the Pistons in the fourth quarter, holding them to 16 points on 33.3% shooting.

"When we came in here tonight, it was like, 'Create your own energy,' " Paul said. "This is another one of those trap games. We've been on the road for what seems like forever. We've come in to play a team without a winning record. We're ready to get home. We could have let our guard down, but we won."

The Clippers had more than enough energy to finish off the game in stylish fashion.

It began late in the fourth quarter when Blake Griffin (15 points) threw a pass ahead to a streaking Matt Barnes, who easily could have waltzed in for a layup.

Instead, Barnes threw the basketball off the backboard, and Griffin caught it high in the air and threw down a one-handed dunk that brought the sparse crowd to its feet.

"I was just hoping he saw me," Barnes said. "Once he threw it to me, I told him to keep coming because no one was out there with me. He can jump 10 times higher than I can and I'm sure the crowd wanted to see him dunk instead of watching me lay it up."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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