AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - For the first time in nine months, the Los Angeles Clippers left the visitors' locker room in a good mood.
The Clippers had lost 15 straight road games, including all 11 this season, before routing the Detroit Pistons 109-88 on Friday night.
``This was important,' said Blake Griffin, who had 24 points and 17 rebounds, including numerous dunks against a lethargic Pistons defense. ``The first time you do something like this, now it is like you know how to do it, and know what it feels like. This gives us something to build on.'
Ryan Gomes added 18 points for Los Angeles, which had five players in double figures.
``We finally put ourselves in position to win tonight, and that was big for us,' Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. ``We took care of business, and now we can get ready for Chicago tomorrow.'
Charlie Villanueva led the Pistons with 18 points off the bench. Detroit's starters scored just 29 points and pulled down two fewer rebounds than Griffin.
``Our first unit just wasn't there,' Pistons coach John Kuester said. ``The second unit tried to get us back into the game, but we had to use them for too many minutes.'
The Pistons were coming off one of their few strong performances of the season, Tuesday's 103-80 win over Atlanta, but weren't able to build on it.
``This is very hard to explain,' Villanueva said. ``You see the way we played against Atlanta, and then you see the way we play tonight. It is discouraging, because we embarrassed ourselves tonight.'
The Clippers led 51-46 at halftime behind 14 points and 11 rebounds from Griffin. Los Angeles could have had a bigger advantage, but 11 first-half turnovers led to 13 Detroit points.
The Pistons then extended a season-long trend of poor third quarters, getting outscored 29-16 as the Clippers took an 80-62 lead into the fourth.
``This game is the tale of our season,' said Tayshaun Prince, the only Detroit starter to score in double figures with 13. ``We played a great game against a very good Atlanta team, and then we do this against a Clippers team that has been struggling all year on the road.'
The final period turned into a show for the Clippers, with the highlight being a 360-degree spinning layup by Griffin that brought the Palace crowd to its feet for one of the few times all night.
On the next Clippers possession, Villanueva was called for a flagrant foul for hitting DeAndre Jordan in the head on a layup attempt. Kuester got a technical for arguing the call.
In the end, the Pistons became the first team to fail to score 100 points in a home game against the Clippers this season.
``We got stops and we got scores, and that put pressure on them,' Gomes said. ``We came out aggressively, but more importantly, we turned it up in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter. That opened the door for us.'
NOTES: Detroit forward Austin Daye missed the game with a strained hamstring, leading to a rare appearance on the active roster for DaJuan Summers. ... Pistons assistant coach Brian Hill picked up a technical foul for arguing a second-quarter call, and was almost ejected for continuing the discussion at halftime. ... The Clippers have won two straight games at the Palace after a 13-game losing streak in Auburn Hills. They had never won by more than 16 points in Detroit.
The Associated Press News Service
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