When two below average teams get together, you get a game much like the one played last night in Detroit. Fans witnessed a lot of turnovers, plenty of wild swings in the score and moments of brilliance that were promptly followed by periods of ineptitude.
Despite a very slow start from Anthony Davis, (0-3 FG in the 1st quarter), the Pelicans hung with the Pistons early and then went on quite a run in the 2nd. Austin Rivers led the way offensively, scoring a variety of runners, but it was the team's defense that impressed the most. The combination of a Aminu-Davis-Withey front court stymied the Pistons offense allowing only 6 points for the final 7:21 of the quarter -- Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe had 5 of their shot attempts blocked.
All in all, most of the 1st half statistics were in favor of the Pelicans: 24-22 points in the paint, 18-14 rebounds and 63.6 FG% - 45.2 FG%. The only significant downside were the 10 turnovers and 5 from Eric Gordon alone (YUCK).
Coming out of halftime, it appeared the Pelicans might avoid their menace, the 3rd quarter blues, with a quick 4 points to take a 10 point lead.
Haha, yeah right.
Over the next 8 minutes or so, the Pistons went on a 30-4 run!!! As the Pelicans were committing mind-numbing turnovers, Detroit had their way with us on the other end. In particular, Brandon Jennings got it going against Brian Roberts as the diminutive PG got to the free throw line multiple times. Monty Williams wisely replaced him with 8:44 remaining, but it didn't matter as Jennings went for 18 points in the 3rd quarter.
Down 16 points, all hope appeared lost until the Pelicans went on a 9-0 run of their own right before the start of the 4th quarter. The Pelicans continued their push throughout the final frame largely on the shoulders of Anthony Morrow. The seldom played wing went video game hot, scoring 13 points including 2 FT's in the final 30 seconds to put the good guys up 3.
However, the game still wasn't decided, as immediately Rodney Stuckey got to the charity stripe, made the first one, missed the second and, for the 95th time in the game, the Pistons got the offensive rebound and put-back to tie the game back up.
Fortunately, the Pelicans had one more chance to avoid overtime and fittingly Gordon got the ball at the top in a strict isolation play. He made a nifty spin move in the paint and laid the ball in with 1.9 seconds to go. A little bit of redemption for an otherwise forgettable game.
And, for whatever reason, the Pistons did NOT call timeout to set up a final play as the Pelicans happily watched Jennings attempt a 3/4 court shot miss.
- Anthony Morrow (AMmo) was the star of the game as he poured in 21 points including dropping 4 out of 5 bombs from deep. With Tyreke Evans sidelined due to illness, Morrow reminded us what he can periodically do.
- Eric Gordon's final line isn't all that bad looking, but for over the first 3 quarters of the game, he was pure awful. It's unclear as to why consistency continues to elude him, but it is apparent he doesn't possess the same mobility and ball-handling abilities he did prior to the onset of all his injuries in a New Orleans uniform.
- Anthony Davis struggled somewhat against the size and quickness of the Pistons front court, but he still had an impact on the game with his rebounding (8) and defense (2 steals, 4 blocks).
- The 3-headed center monster had mixed reviews again. Alexis Ajinca drew the start and had an early impact with a couple of jumpers and blocks. Greg Stiemsma came in after him, but got the majority of his run in the 2nd half and repeatedly let Drummond get to the offensive glass. Jeff Withey left the best impression despite being rejected at the rim brilliantly on a dunk attempt late.
- Austin Rivers got the most run he's seen in awhile and he didn't disappoint. His 15 points were big and one can tell he's learning how to better operate in the paint by converting a number of looks against a very formidable front line.
- The Pistons ended up dominating the glass (30-17), paint (26-20) and fast break points (+11) in the second half but still walked away with the loss.