Odom’s Big Night Leads Clippers Past the Pistons
No one would blame Coach Alvin Gentry if he gloated after his Clippers completed a two-game season series sweep over the Detroit Pistons, the team which fired him last season, but that’s not his style.
“It doesn’t mean one thing to me,” said Gentry following the Clippers’ 101-94 victory over Detroit Tuesday night before 13,262 at Staples Center. “The only gratification is that we won two games. I don’t get any gratification in beating Detroit.”
After losing eight games in a row to the Pistons heading into this season, the Clippers--who won in overtime at Detroit in February--completed their sweep behind a monster game from Lamar Odom, who recorded his third triple-double of the season.
Odom had 27 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and tied a career-high with 11 assists for his sixth career triple-double and second in three games.
“I was just trying to get my teammates involved,” said Odom, the all-time franchise leader in triple-doubles. “I did that and was also able to score . . . Triple-doubles always feel good because they make you feel like you played a complete game.”
Detroit guard Jerry Stackhouse, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, was held to 21 points on eight-of-21 shooting before being ejected with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter. Stackhouse was thrown out after complaining about a non-call on a layup.
Without Stackhouse’s scoring, the Pistons were no match for the Clippers down the stretch.
“We just kept going at them and stayed energetic throughout the whole game,” Odom said. “Sometimes, we can beat teams with our energy and today was one of those games.”
When Gentry was let go by Detroit last season, the Pistons had a 21-24 record and were 73-72 in nearly three seasons. Since taking over the Clippers, all Gentry has done is lead the league’s second-youngest team to more wins than the franchise has had over its previous two seasons (including the lockout-shortened 1999 season) combined. The Clippers’ victory Tuesday improved their record to 26-46, which gives them the best turnaround in wins from last season than any team in the league with 11.
Playing without starting forward Ben Wallace, who’s not with the team because of a family death, Detroit gave the Clippers problems in the second half. After trailing, 59-50, at halftime, the Pistons stepped up their defense by limiting the Clippers to 40% shooting in the third quarter. With Stackhouse scoring 11 points in the quarter, the Clippers held only a 74-73 lead entering the fourth.
From there, it was all Odom and the Clippers’ aggressive defense as Detroit, which has lost its last five games, struggled offensively without Stackhouse.
“The one thing we were worried about without Ben was getting beat on the boards,” Detroit Coach George Irvine said. “In the fourth quarter they crushed us on the board.”
For the Clippers, point guard Jeff McInnis had another good game with 15 points and six assists. Darius Miles had 13 points and six rebounds, and Corey Maggette added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Clippers, who improved to 18-18 at home.
“We’re trying to get to .500 at home for the rest of the year,” Gentry said. “So any win for us, especially at home, is a good win . . . We want to try and see if we can maintain .500 for the rest of the way. We’ve got five more games [at Staples Center] and obviously there are some tough games coming up [against Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Minnesota and Phoenix].
“But I just think we’re playing pretty good basketball right now, which is good for us.’
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