Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Los Angeles Clippers weren't their usual high-flying selves Monday. That didn't prevent them from stretching their winning streak to 10 games, though. Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin had 15 points apiece as the Clippers handed the Detroit Pistons their fifth straight loss, 88-76, at The Palace Monday night. The point total was Los Angeles' second-lowest of the season, as the Clippers showed the effects of being on the road for four straight games. "It was a dogfight," Clippers forward Matt Barnes said. "It was the last game of a 10-day trip for us. You give any team confidence at home, to stay with you during the course of the game, and you have a chance to lose. We didn't play our best in the first half and luckily the last five minutes we were able to turn it up and get a win." Chris Paul added 14 points and seven assists and Caron Butler chipped in 11 points. The streak is the longest since the franchise moved to Los Angeles. The Clippers can match the Buffalo Braves' franchise-record 11-game winning streak with a home victory over New Orleans Wednesday. "Tonight was a game that maybe early in the season we would have lost," Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Hopefully we're learning how to win together when things aren't going perfect and we have to find a way. Tonight, things definitely weren't perfect, but we found a way. We moved the ball better in the second half, got after it a little bit better and we were a little crisper. It's a good sign for us." Brandon Knight scored 16 points and Tayshaun Prince had 15, but the Pistons (7-20) trailed throughout the second half. "The fourth quarter is played completely different than the other three," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "This is a playoff team and they get it. They played harder, tougher, more intense and smarter." The Clippers (18-6), off to their best start in franchise history, were averaging 106.4 points on 49 percent shooting during the first nine games of the streak while holding teams to 91.1 points on 42 percent shooting. They shot 44.9 percent Monday but held the Pistons to 40.8 percent shooting. Detroit's point total tied a season low for a Clippers opponent. "They slowed the tempo down," Clippers guard Willie Green said. "They know we like to get out and run. It was just a game where we had to gut it out and grind it. In order to be a good team, you've got to win games like this." Butler scored five points during a 12-2 third-quarter run, giving the Clippers a 58-46 lead. He started it off with a 3-pointer, and Paul, the league leader in steals, then stripped Detroit center Greg Monroe and made a layup. A Green 3-pointer and a Butler layup finished it off. Detroit then turned up its defense and crept to within 63-60 as Los Angeles missed its last nine shots of the quarter. The Clippers steadied themselves by making their first three shots of the fourth quarter, including two by Crawford. Two layups by Barnes (10 points) and an inside basket by Ronny Turiaf extended the Clippers' advantage to 75-64. The Pistons hung around, but Griffin dunked twice in the final minute to end all suspense. "Once we turned it over and let them get out, it was to their advantage," said Prince, whose team had 17 turnovers. "You have to continue to take care of that basketball, and when they shoot high-percentage shots, we know what type of team they can be and what they will do. We played good in spurts and that's been our trend." NOTES: Detroit sixth man Rodney Stuckey, the team's fourth-leading scorer at 11.7 points per game, was sidelined by back spasms. He had missed just one other game this season. ... The Clippers have defeated the Pistons the last three meetings at The Palace after Detroit had won 23 of 25 home games against them. ... Los Angeles guard and ex-Piston Chauncey Billups remained sidelined with tendinitis in his left foot. Billups has appeared in just three games this season. ... Griffin (58) and frontcourt partner DeAndre Jordan (50) entered the game ranked fourth and fifth on the NBA dunk list behind JaVale McGee (68), Dwight Howard (59) and Tyson Chandler (59). ...The Pistons have played the most games in the league. ... Paul's seven assists was the first time in nine games against the Pistons that he failed to have at least 10.
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