Coming off their biggest come-from-behind victory in franchise history, the New Orleans Pelicans will have an opportunity to ride that momentum and atone for a disappointing performance in Detroit 10 days ago.
The Pelicans fell to the Pistons, getting outscored by 21 points over the final three quarters in finishing on the wrong side of a 123-112 score. Detroit, a team with currently the second worst record in the league, shot 58.2% from the field and 61.2% from three-point line over the final 36 minutes. Meanwhile, the Pelicans posted a 35.2 FG% and a 14.8 3PT% over the same stretch.
Following the loss, Stan Van Gundy commented, “We didn’t play with enough defensive commitment and pride.” It was the truth.
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram each scored a game-high 26 points, but the headliner from that contest was Mason Plumlee, who finished with his first career triple-double (17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). Detroit’s starting center is a solid role player in this league, but he wasn’t the only surprise to pick apart New Orleans’ defense. Svi Mykhailuik posted a season-high 18 points and four threes while Josh Jackson had 21 points on 14 shots.
Why should fans expect a different effort from the Pelicans against these Pistons? Because New Orleans is fresh off a game where they experienced success defensively and believe they have something to fall back on when things get tough.
“So I think the biggest thing is that effort, that communication, that grit … we can remember that going into every other game, especially when teams do make a run,” Josh Hart said the win over Boston. “We can think back to this game and know that during that time, we didn’t go our separate ways. We got closer together and we were able to pull out a tough win.”
The resiliency needs to stick this time. Van Gundy talked about this characteristic during the second week of the season — think back to the 98-95 victory over the Spurs, but fans have seen very little evidence of it until this past Sunday.
The Pistons are not good, but they are an NBA team. If the Pelicans don’t bring the requisite effort and focus, they’re liable to lose to anyone, including a team that’ll be without without Delon Wright (right abductor) and Blake Griffin (not with team).
Whether Steven Adams (right ankle sprain — probable) is a go or not, the Pelicans should be able to dish some revenge. Detroit will be on the second night of a back-to-back while New Orleans is coming off their second practice in the last four days and one memorable victory.
Being able to predict which Pelicans team is going to show up has proven difficult all season, but maybe they really turned some page Sunday. If so, there isn’t a better way to demonstrate that then taking care of a weaker opponent on your home floor.
Who: New Orleans Pelicans (13-17) vs Detroit Pistons (9-22)
When: February 24, 7:00 p.m. Central
Where to watch: FSNOLA
Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM