Auburn Hills — Upon his introduction as a Piston, Brandon Jennings said he was bringing “Lob City” to Detroit, as he looked forward to playing with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond.
The previous owners of said title, the Los Angeles Clippers, looked to abandon that thinking for a more controlled style with the arrival of Doc Rivers.
Rivers apparently let them loose on Martin Luther King Day at The Palace Monday afternoon, as the Clippers routinely did chin-ups at the rim.
DeAndre Jordan’s alley-oop from Chris Paul’s replacement, Darren Collison, took the air out of a late Pistons’ comeback when they cut a 20-point lead to 10 with two minutes remaining, leading to a 112-103 decision.
Jordan led the Clippers with 16 points and 21 rebounds, including four dunks in the first quarter. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 26 for the Clippers (29-14).
“They got a lot of easy baskets, due to pick and rolls. We tried to keep big on big to eliminate those lob plays,” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. “That’s what they do, that’s how they play. It’s unusual to get as many as they got.”
Cheeks was referring to the 14 dunks the Clippers got, as Jordan had seven of them and a layup against Drummond.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons (17-24) with 29 points, his third straight 20-point outing. Smith scored 24, most off long jumpers, but the Pistons needed anything they could get considering they got nothing from two starters — Greg Monroe and Jennings.
Jennings went scoreless for the second time in his 330-game NBA career, missing all seven of his shots. He looked lifeless in a game he should’ve been amped up to play.
Monroe was outscored by Blake Griffin 25-6, as Griffin not only overpowered Monroe on the block and above the rim, with Monroe unable to match the production as he missed all three of his shots.
“What are you gonna say about it? They didn’t play well. Other guys made plays, like Stuckey and Josh,” Cheeks said. “They pounded the ball inside to Blake.”
Whether the Pistons decided to go away from Monroe -- or teammates don’t have confidence in him because of his struggles -- the bulk of the shots went to Smith and Stuckey, who produced for the second straight game.
“You have to go with the way the game goes. We have to get other folks to take shots and make shots,” Cheeks said.
The Pistons’ defense was absent in yet another home game, allowing the Clippers to shoot 56 percent from the field, a number that would’ve been much higher without the Clippers scoring just 18 points in the fourth on 41-percent shooting.
“At the beginning, we didn’t take away nothing,” Smith said. “They got easy layups, transition threes. We didn’t create any resistance early on.”
The Pistons should’ve been able to hang with the Clippers from an athletic standpoint. But Jordan — some Pistons fans might remember him posterizing Brandon Knight last season — decided seeing anyone in a Pistons jersey was a good enough substitute.
Jordan and Griffin combined for 10 dunks in the first half alone — with no hard foul to even make the high-flyers think twice about going above the rim.
“We have to do a better job of eliminating touches and pushing guys off the block,” Cheeks said. “It’s a matter of guys understanding how to guard certain guys and being a little more physical, riding them off the block.”
If defense was optional entering Monday’s game, they certainly declined — as the Pistons usually do at home, considering they lose by an average of 14 points.
Stuckey was the only backcourt player with any rhythm offensively. Jennings was sleepwalking for the entire afternoon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope didn’t get an offensive look until the third quarter.
They struggled with JJ Redick and Crawford on the perimeter, as Crawford is one of the league’s toughest covers off the bench, leading to yet another home loss for the second-worst team in the East at winning in its own building.