Brandon Ingram scored a game-high 26 points, one of five Pelicans to reach double figures.
Both Jonas Valanciunas (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Josh Hart (14 points, 13 rebounds) had double-doubles. Valanciunas remains tied for the NBA lead in that category.
Herb Jones continued to do a bit of everything with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, and his typical, exceptional defense.
Two charges drawn by Herb Jones in the last few possessions.— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) December 11, 2021
Not on Herb.
It was a much-needed win for the Pelicans at the start of a three game stretch against losing teams (Detroit, San Antonio, Oklahoma City) that could help the team build some confidence and its win total while it continues to await the return of Zion Williamson.
Things looked much bleaker over the first 18 minutes as the Pistons came out firing.
Detroit shot a highly uncharacteristic 54 percent in the first quarter, including making six of 13 from beyond the arc, on its way to building an early 32-25 lead.
Trey Lyles opened the second quarter with seven straight points as part of an 11-0 run, helping the Pistons go up 41-25.
Suddenly, things began to turn.
A Josh Hart layup got it started, and the snowball began to roll from there.
“We just picked up our intensity,” Willie Green said in postgame. “In the first quarter, I thought they played harder and faster. They got inside the paint, kicked out for threes, and made shots. You can see in the middle of the second quarter, we just started to pick it up. We did a really good job getting into their guys and everybody getting into a shift with maximum effort. It led us to perform offensively as we were able to get stops, run, and play to our advantage.”
New Orleans finished the first half with a 29-14 surge of its own, pulling to within a single point of the visitors by intermission.
There was no third quarter let down as the Pelicans held the Pistons to just 12 points in the decisive third period.
Since trailing by 16 points with 8:32 left in the second quarter, the Pelicans have outscored the Pistons 70-29 to grab a 97-72 lead with 8:57 remaining in regulation.— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) December 11, 2021
Sure, it's Detroit, but 70-29!!!!
No matter where the Pistons shot from, there was a hand contesting. With the Pelicans turning up their defensive effort, Detroit’s offense ran out of gas.
As the Pistons were going 5-24 from the floor, the Pelicans continued to rise.
The whole squadron got involved with Jones’ seven points setting the pace. Devonte’ Graham knocked down a pair of threes, and the Pels even got 10 points from its bench.
By the end of the period, New Orleans had finished the 180 degree turn by going from 16 down to 16 up, leading 83-67 entering the fourth.
The Pelicans would keep building that lead to as many as 27 points before giving some of the lead back late.
New Orleans won nearly every statistical category. They outshot the Pistons from both inside and outside of the arc and outscored them from the free throw line.
The Pels dominated the glass 60-38 with 15 boards coming on the offensive end. They even scored 19 points on the break, leading to 46-40 advantage in points in the paint.
Trey Lyles paced the Pistons with 18 points and Cade Cunningham added 16 points, four assists and three steals.
It was a good win over a bad team, a victory that the Pelicans were supposed to get.
Too often, the Pelicans have made fans think that one game would be the start of a turnaround. Again, that remains to be seen.
But for one night, the New Orleans Pelicans played and won as a team.
That has to be good enough for now.