Rested Clippers aim to get back on track vs. Pistons

The Los Angeles Clippers had a couple of days off prior to their Friday afternoon game. They’re likely grateful to get a little extra rest.

The Clippers, who host the floundering Detroit Pistons on Friday, have lost three of their last four games. Road losses to Memphis and New Orleans were followed by two home games against Dallas.

Los Angeles posted a 97-91 win Sunday over the Mavericks, but dropped a 112-104 overtime decision two days later.

Reggie Jackson had 31 points on Tuesday, but the team’s offense stalled in the extra session.

“We’re still learning on the fly, still figuring each other out being short-handed a little bit,” Jackson said. “I can’t imagine being the coach, being (Tyronn) Lue and the coaching staff, they’re trying to figure it out. Make sure that we’re as healthy as possible, as recovered as possible, as well as they’re trying to teach us as much as possible with our new units and everything going on.

“So we’re just trying to pick it up. But yeah, I’m a little frustrated, just because they’re easy baskets that we’re passing up, especially with the great defense that we’ve been playing.”

One of the things troubling Lue and his staff is turnovers. The Clippers are averaging 14.2 per game.

“Taking care of the basketball and capitalizing in transition, that’s our biggest Achilles’ heel right now,” Lue said.

Starting guard Eric Bledsoe has been particularly punchless at the offensive end, averaging 5.2 points on 36.7 percent shooting over the last five games.

Another key player, forward Nicolas Batum, entered the league’s health and safety protocols and is expected to miss several more games.

Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. has returned to action after being out for a month due to knee soreness. He played 31 minutes in the overtime game and scored 10 points.

“Take a month off, I think I looked good myself,” he said. “Shots will come, rhythm will come, I’m a veteran, just felt great to be out there.”

The Pistons are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. They squandered second-half, double-digit leads to the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami prior to a 114-93 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to get happy with close,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We want to compete, to develop winning habits and we all understand the circumstances we’re under right now and who we’re playing against. But let’s stay hungry, keep that edge on our shoulder and not be happy just being close. That’s the way we build our foundation, build our culture, build our team for the future.”

Detroit will welcome back center Isaiah Stewart, who served a two-game league-imposed suspension after an altercation with the Lakers’ LeBron James on Sunday.

The Pistons might also get starting guard Killian Hayes back in the lineup. He’s missed the last three games with a sprained left thumb. However, backup guard Frank Jackson suffered an ankle sprain against the Bucks.

Unlike the previous two games, Detroit was playing from behind throughout on Wednesday. Milwaukee scored the first 14 points of the game and never trailed.

“When you’re a good team, you see a team coming off a back-to-back, you try to jump on them early,” Casey said of the Bucks.


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