Clippers beat Pistons to end up-and-down stretch, but Paul George leaves early

first_img What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Clippers’ Paul George: ‘If I make shots, this series could be a little different’ “We’re a work in progress,” Clippers guard Lou Williams said in his walk-off interview. “I think we’ll get sharper and sharper as time goes on.”Down six players, Detroit started 19-year-old power forward Sekou Doumbouya, who’d played only 24 minutes all season and Thursday drew the tough task of guarding Leonard, who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists – for his career-best fifth consecutive game with at least 15 points and five assists.The Moreno Valley native – facing his former Riverside King teammate Tony Snell (14 points) – was one of six Clippers to score in double figures, including Moe Harkless, whose team improved to 7-0 when he scores 10 points or more.Harkless had 12 on 6-for-7 shooting on Thursday, when Montrezl Harrell led the team with 23 points, and Williams – who shot just 13 for 40 in his previous three outings – added 22 on a 7-for-16 effort from the floor. JaMychal Green also finished with 12 points.Clippers center Ivica Zubac effectively battled Detroit big man Andre Drumond, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. Zubac finished with eight points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory George played 16 productive minutes before his departure, and he appeared to be shaking off a string of sub-par shooting performances: He was 5 for 10 overall and 2 for 5 from 3-point range, to go with three rebounds and three assists.“Nothing happened, he just felt tightness,” Rivers said of George’s hamstring. “We just decided not to bring him back. He’s gonna be evaluated, clearly, I think it’s the back more than the legs.”Williams’ fadeaway with 3:34 made it 58-58, and the Clippers scored the next 10 points to go ahead 68-58. They finished a back-and-forth first half that featured 15 lead changes and 12 ties leading 69-63 – but without George, who started the game 3 for 5.“I thought we just picked up our energy,” Williams said. “And tried to shake the new year off.”More to come on this story.Related Articles Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PreviousMembers of the Los Angeles Clippers stand duringa a moment of silence Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, prior to a basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, for former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died Wednesday as a result of the brain hemorrhage. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell dunks for two of his team-high 23 points as Pistons guard Bruce Brown watches during the first half of Thursday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Detroit Pistons guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, right, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, right, shoots as Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown, center, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, second from left, and guard Derrick Walton Jr., right, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams, left, shoots as Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose, second from left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward JaMychal Green, left, guard Rodney McGruder, right, and forward Montrezl Harrell defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, right, tries to drive past Detroit Pistons guard Tony Snell during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward JaMychal Green defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, right, shoots as Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown, left, celebrates after scoring and drawing a foul as forward Christian Wood stands by during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Members of the Los Angeles Clippers stand duringa a moment of silence Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, prior to a basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, for former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died Wednesday as a result of the brain hemorrhage. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell dunks for two of his team-high 23 points as Pistons guard Bruce Brown watches during the first half of Thursday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 11Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell dunks for two of his team-high 23 points as Pistons guard Bruce Brown watches during the first half of Thursday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES — Clippers fans who hoped to watch one of their Lob City heroes back in action at Staples Center on Thursday were out of luck; Blake Griffin missed his second consecutive game with a sore left knee.Those fans didn’t get to see much of their team’s new star Paul George in action, either. He left the game late in the second quarter with left hamstring tightness and didn’t return, though Coach Doc Rivers said after the game it was more precautionary move.But the 19,068 in the crowd did get to see the Clippers handle business without him, starting a four-games-in-nine-days homestand with a 126-112 victory over the struggling, short-handed Detroit Pistons (12-23) and winning consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 13.The Clippers (25-11), who had alternated wins and losses for nearly three weeks, gathered momentum going into halftime and then proceeded to wear down – and then hold off – the depleted Pistons, who lost their fourth consecutive game and eighth in their past nine despite a respectable effort in the fourth quarter, when they outscored the home team 33-20. Game 4 photos: Luka Doncic, Mavs shock Clippers in overtime last_img read more