Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Clippers [Print without images]

Monday, January 20, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 112, Pistons 103

By Arash Markazi



DETROIT -- The Los Angeles Clippers may be in first place in the Pacific Division and hold one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference, but Doc Rivers did not like what he was seeing from his starting lineup.

It wasn’t so much that Chris Paul was missing (although that doesn't help) as much as it was the production he wasn't getting from the small forward position.

So for the first time this season, Rivers benched Jared Dudley and started Matt Barnes in his place.

It’s a change Rivers will likely keep for the time being after the Clippers’ 112-103 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday. Barnes finished with 10 points and five rebounds while Dudley finished with seven points and one rebound.

It's a move that was made just as much for defensive reasons as it was for offensive reasons.

“He’s going to be in and out,” Rivers said of Dudley. “He’s going to get a rhythm at some point. I’m really not concerned with his offense, to be honest. He can shoot the ball. That will never go away, but I do need him to improve defensively. That’s more picking up our stuff better. He is what he is individually. He knows what he can and can’t do because he’s going to have to keep improving with the team concept, and that’s all I can ask.”

How it happened: The Clippers pulled away in the second quarter, going on a 14-1 run, and never really looked back. The Clippers went up by as many as 20 points and turned the game into a mini dunk contest in the first half when it seemed every basket was coming on a dunk or lob.

What it means: The Clippers are 8-2 in January and have held their ground in the standings without Paul, who will be sidelined six weeks with a separated right shoulder. The Clippers are 2-1 so far on their seven-game road trip with a date with Charlotte up next.

Hits: Blake Griffin had 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in the game while J.J. Redick had 20 points and six assists. Barnes was solid in his first start of the season with 10 points and five rebounds while DeAndre Jordan added 16 points, 21 rebounds and four blocks.

Misses: Darren Collison suffered a sprained left big toe against Indiana and hasn’t been the same since. He finished with 10 points and four assists in the loss to Indiana and had just four points and six assists against the Pistons after going 0-for-6 from the field. With Paul out for another month, the Clippers will need Collison to get better in a hurry.

Stat of the game: Jordan’s 21 rebounds tied his season high and was just one away from his career high.

Up next: The Clippers’ two-week road trip will continue Wednesday when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats. It will be the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams after the Clippers beat the Bobcats 112-85 in Los Angeles on Jan. 1. The 18-25 Bobcats are tied for the final playoff spot in the East.