Hornets 105, Pistons 86

Three minutes into the game, Monty Williams thought his New
Orleans Hornets were in major trouble.

Playing their second road game in two nights, the Hornets looked
completely lost against the Pistons. They turned the ball over
twice in their first three possessions and quickly trailed 8-0.

Williams called a quick timeout, but chose not to berate his
players.

”There are a lot of times that I’m going to jump on the guys
when they play like that, but I didn’t think this was the time for
yelling and screaming,” Williams said. ”I just wanted to settle
everyone down and get us playing basketball.”

The strategy worked. New Orleans scored the next eight points
and ended up cruising to a 105-86 victory Monday night.

”I was concerned, because after we lost last night, we had
really focused on being the aggressors tonight,” said Robin Lopez,
who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. ”The important thing
was that we bounced right back and took control of the game.
Scoring the next eight points showed that we weren’t going to play
another game like we did last night in Toronto.”

The Hornets, coming off a 102-89 loss at Toronto on Sunday for
their fifth defeat in seven games, were in control for the final 40
minutes against Detroit.

Wearing their purple, green and gold Mardi Gras jerseys, New
Orleans finished with 10 blocks to just three for the Pistons and
dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. The New Orleans
starting frontcourt – Lopez, Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu –
combined for 36 points, 32 rebounds and eight blocks.

”Robin, A.D. and Al-Farouq are all really long, so they can
give teams a lot of trouble inside,” Williams said. ”Robin was
matched up against Greg Monroe, who is a stud, but he was able to
do a great job against him and still help A.D. out against Jason
Maxiell. Al-Farouq had a couple blocks on the fast break where he
looked a lot like LeBron.”

Ryan Anderson did the rest of the damage for New Orleans, coming
off the bench with 31 points. Anderson hit five 3-pointers, but
Williams was more impressed by his ability to do other things.

”Ryan’s not just a shooter, despite what people think,” he
said. ”There was a play tonight where he pump-faked the defender
and then went to the rim and dunked. I don’t think anyone in the
building expected him to dunk that one.”

In their last five games, the Pistons had beaten the Spurs and
Bucks and lost close games to the Lakers and the Nets, but they
were no match for the 18-34 Hornets on Monday. Playing without
rookie center Andre Drummond (back), the Pistons had no answer for
New Orleans inside.

”Other than that initial spurt – 8-0 – our defense was
horrible,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. ”You have to give
them most of the credit for that. They played much harder than us,
much tougher, more physical, more intense. Outside of a few select
segments, they really, really outworked us. It’s very, very
disappointing.”

Reserve Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19, but most came after
the game had been decided, while Greg Monroe added 17 points and 11
rebounds.

”They wanted to win more than we did,” Monroe said. ”We
started out great, but after that timeout, they took control. I
don’t think it was our mistakes, but good reads on their part. They
just outplayed us. It was tough.”

The Hornets were already ahead by the end of the first quarter,
thanks to 13 points from Lopez, and were able to pull out to a
double-digit lead when the Pistons missed 10 straight shots in the
second period. Anderson had 15 off the bench, including a
buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the second that gave the
Hornets a 55-41 halftime lead.

New Orleans led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, as
Detroit struggled to even get decent shots in its half-court
offense. The Hornets only shot 35 percent in the period, but that
was enough to move the margin to 16 going into the fourth. Frank
went outside his rotation in the fourth, playing little-used Kim
English and Jonas Jerebko in an effort to kick-start a comeback,
but the Hornets were never threatened.

The Hornets led comfortably enough that they were able to take
an intentional shot-clock violation in the final seconds of the
game.

”We wanted to finish this road trip well, and I think we showed
some growth in our team,” Aminu said. ”There are things you have
to do on the road that you don’t normally have to do at home, and
we did all those little things tonight.”

NOTES: Frank picked up a technical foul for arguing a
basket-interference in the first quarter. … Despite decent
weather, the game drew one of the smallest crowds in Palace
history. The attendance was announced at 10,177, and several
upper-deck sections were entirely empty as fans were encouraged to
move to the lower bowl. … Jesse Jackson sat courtside across from
the Pistons bench. … Eric Gordon sat out to rest his knee on the
second night of New Orleans’ back-to-back games.