Defense has not been a strong suit for the Pistons as of late. A day after allowing a depleted and quasi tanking Hawks squad to lay down 118 points, the Pistons on the second leg of a back to back, allowed the Pelicans to do just the same. It seems as if the luster of adding Blake Griffin has diminished along with the teams overall play.
In a highly competitive and defensively lackluster first quarter, the Pistons lead for a majority of the period. The Pelicans, which was a story of the night, drained a couple of late threes to put them ahead by one at the end of the first, 32-31. After the Pistons took a quick lead back in the beginning of the second, it was all New Orleans from then on out. Anthony Davis had 10 of his 38 points in the second, propelling the Pelicans to lead 60-52 going into the break.
The third quarter was of the same for the Pistons. This time, however, it was Nikola Mirotic doing the damage for the Pelicans. Mirotic had 13 in the third, including two big threes and a three point trip to the line. Stanley Johnson had six points, and Reggie Bullock had five in the third as well, but the damage had been done, as the Pistons found themselves down 15 heading into the final quarter of play. Early in the fourth, the Pistons made it a game, cutting the lead down to nine with 8:16 to go, however, the damage had already been done. The Pelicans extended the lead back up to 15 with just under six minutes to go, and ended up being the final deficit Detroit faced.
News and Notes
The Pistons, plain and simple, have not been playing good basketball in the last couple of days. After two disappointing losses to the Clippers and Hawks, the squad failed to get it done again against the DeMarcus Cousins-less Pelicans. Yes, it was the second day of a back to back, but these are the games this team needs to be winning in order to make a playoff push late in the year. The Pelicans, whom are not a great three point shooting team(36.3%), was able to shoot over 41% tonight against this Pistons team.
If it’s not the three ball that kills the Pistons, it’s mid range and inside scoring, like the putrid Atlanta Hawks team put on display on Sunday. Jameer Nelson has played decent in his time on the court, but like Stan Van Gundy said last night, the starters have to play better. Blake Griffin, although putting up very good numbers most nights, cannot single handedly lead this team to the promise land. Reggie Bullock seems to have found a niche as a spot up three shooter, but others around him have to perform better as well.
The Pistons get a much needed day off before rematching the Atlanta Hawks, this time at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday, January 14th at 7:00 p.m. EST.