The Pelicans managed to pull out the win in overtime, but it was another game that left most fans suffering one too many heart palpitations. There were three instances where the good guys attained a double-digit lead, only to give it away shortly thereafter. The worst one had to be the 4th quarter meltdown. After allowing only 38 points in the paint the first three quarters, the Pistons tacked on 18 in the final frame. They even built a four point lead, but thankfully, their freethrow woes came back to haunt them.
The biggest story of the night though, was Jason Smith: 22 points (8/14 FG's, 6/8 FT's), 16 rebounds (career best) and 2 blocks. He effectively countered Greg Monroe's big night with probably his best game of the season. In the 4th quarter and OT periods, the desire was especially evident. How about the block on Smith with under a minute to go in the game!?! A good deal of this drive might have been sparked from whatever was going on between he and Drummond (at one point in OT, we overheard Smith on audio saying, "Hey, don't be doing that shit man").
- Our guys continue to exhibit instances they genuinely like one another. Right before the start of the game, the camera caught Tyreke Evans jumping into a very joyful huddle.
- Who else thought Andre Drummond was going to eat a few Pelicans on the night? He started the game off with two quick offensive rebounds and scores. However, he was mostly quiet the rest of the game and ended up posting a team worst +/- on the night (-13). Weird? Not really. A Smith-Monroe-Drummond lineup is a bad idea and who knows what Dumars was thinking at the time he signed Smoove.
- For all the length and size the Pistons possess, they were inept in the paint area in the first half. Jrue Holiday had a couple of early layups and in general the Pelicans were able to get a lot of uncontested looks around the rim. At halftime, the Pels enjoyed a 25-13 rebounding, 11-4 second chance points and 26-24 points in the paint advantages.
- Austin Rivers played instead of Brian Roberts and posted his typical bag of mixed results. He swished his only made field goal out of seven attempts from the corner 3 location but did have several good drives. The problem though, is that once he gets there, he still isn't a very good finisher. Keep practicing kid. At least he did pick up 3 timely steals and didn't turn the ball over once.
- Ryan Anderson's struggles from the field continued but all was forgiven as he came up huge in overtime with 2 super-duper clutch three pointers. Joel Meyers absolutely called it with about 3:30 to go in OT, "A lot of time for him to get well though." Indeed.
- Jason Smith had his jumper working early, hit a bit of a lull in the 2nd half, and guess what -- he adjusted!!! Late in the game, he made a couple of ball fakes and either took it to the rim or successfully pulled up from the 4-8 foot area. The best though, was his only assist on a kick-out to Anderson for a three in OT. Going forward, let's hope for trend instead of mirage.
- Al-Farouq Aminu was active again -- in a good way. Besides the rebounds, he made solid decisions on both sides of the ball: several fine passes (4 assists), took the ball at times to the rim instead of settling for jumpshots and had a couple of key defensive plays. He still missed at least a few shots in the paint area that, if he possessed better footwork or a few well-rehearsed moves, they would have gone through the hoop.
-Tyreke Evans had a fantastic 2nd quarter but was quiet for the rest of the game. No doubt it was a nice surprise to see him be able to play but a little more consistency would be splendid.
- We had a Jeff Withey sighting and he failed to post a single stat in 3 minutes. However, it's not to say he didn't do anything on the floor. He boxed out Drummond at every opportunity and kept the Detroit big from getting a single point or rebound. Yeah, we can see he doesn't have the required strength yet but neither did Davis a season ago. That didn't stop from being effective, right?
- Lou Amundson had some nice energetic moments, pulling down some very key rebounds.