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            === Griffin, Clippers vie to bounce back vs. Pistons ===
 (Sports  Network) -  Blake Griffin hasn't scored less than 10 points since the
 calendar  flipped to  2013 and the leading scorer for the Los Angeles Clippers
 will try to get his team back on track Sunday versus the Detroit Pistons.
 Griffin is averaging team highs of 18.6 points and 8.7 rebounds for a Clippers
 squad  that  has dropped two  of three games since  winning eight of nine. The
 mini  slump started with a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but a subsequent
 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks settled things.
 But  Los Angeles, which  leads the Pacific Division and is fourth in the West,
 went  back a  step with  Thursday's 107-92  road defeat  at the  hands of  the
 sizzling  Denver  Nuggets. Griffin had  17 points  and Chris Paul collected 16
 points and 10 assists for L.A.
 "They're a good team, they forced the tempo," LA coach Vinny Del Negro said.
 The game was even at 49 apiece at halftime, but the Nuggets registered a 36-26
 advantage in the third quarter. Denver won the season series with the Clippers
 and  that could play a role when playoff seeds are decided. Denver is fifth in
 the conference -- two games in back of the Clippers.
 Los  Angeles missed  top reserve and second-leading scorer Jamal Crawford, who
 sat  out with  a sore  left ankle.  Crawford is  a tight  defender around  the
 perimeter  and is  averaging 17.2 ppg. In the previous four games, Crawford is
 averaging  23.0 ppg. The  Sixth Man of the Year candidate has shot better than
 50 percent in all six of his games since the All-Star break.
 Paul, who has 50 assists to six turnovers in his last five games, is 25 points
 away  from  10,000 in his career.  He had 14  points in the first meeting with
 Detroit  this season and  is averaging 17.7 ppg in 13 career games against the
 The  Clippers will play  three straight and five of six games at home, and are
 24-7  as  the host  this season. They  are 37-8 in  the last 45 regular-season
 games at home.
 Detroit  will hobble into  Staples Center, having lost four in a row and seven
 of eight games.
 In  Friday's tough 102-99 loss versus the Dallas Mavericks, Charlie Villanueva
 had  a  chance to send  the game  into overtime but  missed a 3-pointer at the
 buzzer.  He ended  with 12 points for  the Pistons, who rallied from 15 points
 down in the fourth quarter, only to lose again. Villanueva and Khris Middleton
 combined for 22 points in the fourth quarter.
 "I  thought our guys  took the challenge in the second half and came back much
 better  defensively," Pistons  coach Brian Hill said. "We got a couple of good
 looks at the end. The plays leading up to that hurt us the most."
 Hill  took over his  second game for coach Lawrence Frank, who is back at home
 with  his ill wife. Brandon Knight scored 21 points and Greg Monroe ended with
 14 and 10 rebounds. Monroe is averaging 20.8 points and 9.8 boards in his last
 four contests.
 On  the bright side for the Pistons, they rank first in the Eastern Conference
 and third in the NBA in points in the paint with 46.0.
 The  Pistons  are opening a four-game  western trek Sunday and will also visit
 Utah, Golden State and Portland. They are just 8-21 on the road.
 Detroit  dropped  an 88-76  home decision to  the Clippers on  Dec. 17 and has
 lost  three straight  and five  of the  past six  matchups between  the teams.
 However, the Pistons are 14-5 in the previous 19 games in this series.
 03/10 11:12:47 ET