LOS ANGELES — At 6-1, the Los Angeles Clippers are off to the best start in the history of a once-beleaguered franchise. They believe they can be even better.
Chris Paul scored 24 points and made five of the Clippers’ season-high 13 3-pointers in a 114-80 rout of the Pistons on Monday night, their 11th consecutive victory against Detroit.
That’s the Clippers’ second-longest active winning streak against any opponent.
"We keep talking about not getting complacent," Paul said. "One of the biggest things we keep talking about is finishing."
Both teams’ starters rested in the fourth quarter, when Detroit’s reserves never got closer than 34 points in the final minute.
Andre Drummond had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Detroit, which shot 37 per cent and went 4 for 12 on 3-pointers in its worst loss of the young season.
"This game will bother me for a couple of days," Drummond said. "You need to learn from a game like this and don’t brush it off. You don’t forget the embarrassment and you don’t want to feel like that again."
J.J. Redick added 20 points, including three 3-pointers and all five of his free throws for the Clippers, who shot 54 per cent. Blake Griffin just missed a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Paul was 8 of 10 from the field and 3 of 4 at the free throw line. He had eight assists and six rebounds in a game featuring the NBA’s top-ranked defences.
Los Angeles came in allowing an average of 90.7 points, while the Pistons were giving up 93 points per game.
"We get excited about stopping teams and trying to keep them under certain numbers," Paul said. "That could be contagious all season."
The Clippers put the game away in the first quarter, scoring 17 straight points as part of a 24-2 run that extended their lead to 28-8. Griffin had eight in the 17-0 spurt in which five players scored. Los Angeles shot 67 per cent in the period and ended it leading 33-15.
"Even when you’re up 30 or 20, there shouldn’t be a letup," Griffin said.
The Clippers’ bench kept up the pace in the second quarter, building a 47-19 lead to open the period, helped by consecutive 3-pointers from Wesley Johnson, Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford. The team had five 3s in the period, which ended with a 10-0 run that sent the Clippers into halftime ahead 62-32.
"Nothing positive came out of this game. It’s like starting at ground zero again," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They dismantled us."
Los Angeles hit five 3-pointers in the third, stretching its lead to 91-53. The Clippers scored six straight on Griffin’s free throw, Paul’s step-back 3 in front of Detroit’s bench and DeAndre Jordan‘s dunk off Griffin’s alley-oop pass.
Pistons: F Reggie Bullock missed playing against his old team because of a hip pointer. … Detroit fell to 0-3 on the road. … The 15 points in the first quarter were the fewest the Pistons have scored in any period this season, and their 32 at halftime was also a season low.
Clippers: They hit a season-high seven 3-pointers in the first half, with Paul making all three of his attempts. … Their only loss was to Oklahoma City by two points. … Jordan had 10 rebounds and the Clippers controlled the boards, 46-39.
Pistons guard Ish Smith was 1 of 9 from the floor and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed all six of his shots.
"I can’t say what I want to say (about how we played), but they shot the ball well and we missed lots of shots," said Smith, who was averaging 10.5 points. "They punched us in the mouth and they made it tough on us. We tried to keep it within striking distance but it got out of hand."
Caldwell-Pope came in averaging 12.8 points.
The only quarter the Pistons won was the fourth when their reserves outscored the Clippers’ bench 29-23.
Detroit outscored Los Angeles 40-32 in the paint and 13-2 on second-chance points.
Detroit’s lone lead of two points came early in the opening quarter.
HE SAID IT
"I don’t want to forget this game until we fix it. It was embarrassing." — Pistons reserve forward Stanley Johnson.
Pistons: Visit Phoenix on Wednesday in the second game of a four-game Western trip. Detroit won both games against the Suns last season.
Clippers: Host Portland on Wednesday, having beaten the Trail Blazers 114-106 on the road in the teams’ season opener.