The New Orleans Pelicans (13-14) are back on the road again for a quick two-game romp through the Eastern Conference that begins with a stop in Detroit against the Pistons (13-10) on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. Central and the game can be witnessed on Fox Sports New Orleans or Fox Sports Detroit.
While New Orleans has struggled with consistency, alternating wins with defeats over the last seven contests, Detroit has also slipped down the standings. They’re currently on a three-game skid, posting losses to the Thunder, Bucks and 76ers. Yet as to where the Pelicans are underachieving as evidenced by a +2.1 point differential, the Pistons should be considered overachievers because they sit three games over .500 but have a -0.3 point differential.
One way to surpass an expected record is to ride your star to a few more victories, and that’s exactly what the Pistons have done. When Blake Griffin is efficient, Detroit tends to find the win column. His FG% is nearly 10 percentage points lower and he’s averaging over two more turnovers per game in defeats than victories. That’s significant when adding these details to an impressive line of 25.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Behind Griffin, the Pistons rely on Andre Drummond (18.1 points, 15.3 rebounds) and Reggie Jackson (15.8 points, 4.1 assists) to help carry the scoring load because Detroit doesn’t have a very good offense. In fact, they rank 24th in the league overall, and are dead last in shooting (eFG%).
On the other end of the court, the Pistons do field an above average defense, but that may mean very little — Anthony Davis has a well-documented history of torching Detroit. He has led the Pelicans to victories in nine of his ten matchups against the Pistons in his career, and a quick glance at his average stat line tells the story: 30.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. For whatever the reason, he shoots phenomenally against Detroit (58.6 FG%, 41.2 3PT%, 90.8 FT%). Davis doesn’t average over 30 points a game against any other team in the league, nor a free throw percentage north of 90.0%.
Of course, who could ever forget his 59-point performance from nearly two years ago?
Another item that should be in New Orleans favor is Detroit’s injury report. They’re going to be without Ish Smith (groin), who is more impactful at point guard than Reggie Jackson, and Reggie Bullock (ankle), the typical starting shooting guard. Also, Stanley Johnson (knee) is considered questionable.
The Detroit Pistons may be just what the doctor ordered, but in this whacky season, it’s far from a guarantee.
Nevertheless, geaux Pels!
Where To Watch
What: New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons
Where: Little Caesars Arena
When: Sunday, December 9, 2018, 2:30 p.m. Central
How: FSNO, FSDT, 99.5 FM WRNO