Clippers coach Tyronn Lue pulled his starters when his team fell behind 126-112, but a lineup of Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, Nicolas Batum and Moses Brown finished the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run. Mann hit a tying jumper with 5 seconds left in regulation.
“You have to give those guys credit for staying ready,” Lue said. “They came out and played with some urgency. Amir and Moses hadn’t played in the game, so for them to come in and produce like the way they did was huge.”
Entering play Monday, NBA teams were 2-12,873 in the play-by-play era (since 1996-97) when trailing by 14 or more points with 3 minutes remaining; the Clippers were 0-417. The only wins were by the Hawks on March 17, 1997, against the Magic and by the Kings on Jan. 27, 2020, against the Timberwolves. Since that Sacramento victory, teams in that scenario had lost 1,467 games.
But the Clippers overcame the odds, then outscored Detroit 14-3 in the extra period.
Ivica Zubac added 12 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has beaten Detroit eight straight times. The Clippers had seven players score in double figures.
“We were down 15 points in the third quarter, fought our way back, got the lead and had a comfortable lead with three minutes left,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “They threw in the towel, and we have to learn how to win that game. I’m proud of the way we put ourselves into position to beat one of the best teams in the West, but we didn’t get it.”
George scored five points in the first minute of overtime, and baskets by Kennard and Mann gave the Clippers a 138-131 lead with 2:45 left.
The Clippers led by five at the half and expanded the margin to 88-73 midway through the third quarter. However, the Pistons answered with a 21-5 run, taking a 92-91 lead on Stewart’s dunk.
Stewart’s 3-pointer made it 119-112 with 5:23 left. After a Clippers miss, Bogdanovic’s short jumper put the Pistons up by nine and forced Lue to call timeout.
Stewart’s three-point play with 3:34 left capped a 53-24 stretch that started with 6:48 left in the third quarter. From there, the Pistons shot 1-of-12 with five turnovers and two missed free throws.
“They took their starters out, and we thought the game was over,” Stewart said. “We had the lead and we didn’t finish the game. That’s completely on us, not the coaches.”
Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer on Detroit’s first possession of overtime, but the Pistons missed their last five shots and turned the ball over three times.
“I thought our defense is what changed the game,” Lue said. “We were rebounding the ball and we had deflections and steals.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.