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Despite George exiting game early, Clippers cruise past Detroit

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No Paul George? The Los Angeles Clippers say to that, “no problem.”

On a night where George left with tightness in his left hamstring, the Clippers (25-11) bench – led by Montrezl Harrell (23 pts) and Lou Williams (22 pts) – scored 68 of the team’s points in a 126-112 win over the Detroit Pistons (12-23). George scored 12 points in the win, but left after halftime and will be evaluated on Friday.

According to coach Doc Rivers, it isn’t anything serious and was just a precautionary measure.

“Nothing happened, he just felt tightness,” Rivers said. “We just decided not to bring him back.”

The Clippers had a bit of a rough start to the game, as they ended the first quarter trailing the Pistons by 9. After alternating wins and losses the last couple of weeks, there was an urgent need to show some consistency. In the second quarter, the Clippers finally strung it together, with consecutive runs of 9-0 and 10-0 to outscore the Pistons 35-20 in the quarter. Going into halftime, the Clippers led 69-63.

No George,  Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell dunks the ball for the Clippers against Detroit.

After George came out, the bench unit led the charge. Landry Shamet hit a pair of big three-pointers, and the trio of Maurice Harkless (who started), Harrell and Williams scored 13 of the Clippers’ last 15 third quarter points. As they began the final quarter, the Clippers had a fairly safe 106-79 lead as the Pistons only scored on consecutive baskets once in the quarter.

Kawhi Leonard, who scored 18 points in the win, attributed the aggressiveness to being able to adjust their game accordingly.

“I enjoyed our third quarter coming out with energy and holding them to 16 points,” Leonard said. “We got out in transition, we ran the floor. We adjusted at halftime and did a good job defensively.”

The Clippers starters were able to rest during the fourth as Harrell and Williams led the charge. Despite the Pistons outscoring the Clippers 33-20, it wasn’t enough to offset the damage of the third.

With the win, the Clippers are now only three games behind the Lakers (27-11) for first place in the Pacific division and third in the Western Conference. Their next game is on Saturday as they host young superstar Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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