Clippers stage improbable comeback, beat Pistons in OT

Clippers stage improbable comeback, beat Pistons in OT

By DAVE HOGG The Associated Press

DETROIT — There are unlikely comebacks and then there is the one the Clippers pulled off Monday night.

Paul George scored 32 points and the Clippers overcame a 14-point deficit in the final 3: 34 of regulation to beat the Detroit Pistons, 142-131, in overtime.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue pulled his starters when his team fell behind 126-112, but a lineup of Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, Nicolas Batum and Moses Brown finished the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run. Mann hit a tying jumper with five seconds left in regulation.

“You have to give those guys credit for staying ready,” Lue said. “They came out and played with some urgency. Amir and Moses hadn’t played in the game, so for them to come in and produce like the way they did was huge.”

The Clippers then outscored Detroit 14-3 in the extra period.

Just how improbable was the Clippers’ comeback win? Since the 1996-97 season, NBA teams entered Monday just 2-12,873 when trailing by 14 points or more with three minutes left. The Clippers were 0-417 in that scenario.

“They took their starters out and we thought the game was over,” the Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart said. “We had the lead and we didn’t finish the game. That’s completely on us, not the coaches.”

Ivica Zubac added 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who have beaten Detroit eight straight times. The Clippers had seven players score in double figures.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 23 points, including the Pistons’ only field goal of the last eight minutes. Stewart added 21 points for Detroit.

“We were down 15 points in the third quarter, fought our way back, got the lead and had a comfortable lead with three minutes left,” Pistons Dwane Casey said. “They threw in the towel and we have to learn how to win that game. I’m proud of the way we put ourselves into position to beat one of the best teams in the West, but we didn’t get it.”

George scored five points in the first minute of overtime, and baskets by Kennard and Mann gave the Clippers a 138-131 lead with 2: 45 left.

The Clippers (20-15) led by five at the half and expanded the margin to 88-73 midway through the third quarter. However, the league-worst Pistons (8-28) answered with a 21-5 run, taking a 92-91 lead on Stewart’s dunk.

Stewart’s 3-pointer made it 119-112 with 5: 23 left. After a Clippers miss, Bogdanovic’s short jumper put the Pistons up by nine and forced Lue to call timeout.

Stewart’s three-point play with 3: 34 left capped a 53-24 stretch that started with 6: 48 left in the third quarter. From there, the Pistons shot 1 for 12 with five turnovers and two missed free throws.

Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer on Detroit’s first possession of overtime, but the Pistons missed their last five shots and turned the ball over three times.

“I thought our defense is what changed the game,” Lue said. “We were rebounding the ball and we had deflections and steals.”


Clippers: The Clippers haven’t lost to the Pistons since Jan. 12, 2019, when they dropped a 109-104 decision in Detroit. … Kennard scored 18 points, and Marcus Morris, John Wall and Norman Powell each had 16.

Pistons: Detroit came into the game averaging a league-high 46.7 bench points in December, but was outscored 61-39 by the Clipper reserves. … The Pistons had eight players in double figures for the first time since Nov. 22 against the New York Knicks. … Jalen Duren had 15 points and 12 rebounds.


The Clippers used 11 players and all of them scored, with Coffey and Brown the only two who didn’t reach five points.


The Clippers play at the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday at 4: 30 p.m. PT.

Down 14 with 3 minutes left… relive the @LAClippers improbable comeback win!

— NBA (@NBA) December 27, 2022

Just how unlikely was the Clippers comeback against the Pistons?

Entering Monday, teams were 2-12,873 when trailing by 14+ with 3 minutes remaining in the play-by-play era (since 1996-97).

The Clippers were 0-417 in that scenario.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 27, 2022