NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 33 points and 14 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a three-game skid with a 109-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
Pistons 6-foot-11 center Andre Drummond was ejected for swatting at the back of 6-1 Pelicans guard Tim Frazier’s head after Frazier had ripped away a rebound late in the third quarter. Drummond had 13 points and 17 rebounds to that point, but also missed nine of 10 free throws.
Jrue Holiday had 22 points for the Pelicans, who were without newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins because of Cousins’ one-game suspension that was triggered when he received his 18th technical foul of this season on Sunday night.
Dante Cunningham added 16 for New Orleans, hitting four 3-pointers.
Jon Leuer scored 22 points and Tobias Harris added 15 points for Detroit.
Drummond had been a rebounding force on both ends of the court. His ejection made it tough for the Pistons, who’d played a night earlier, to keep pace down the stretch.
Detroit trailed by only six points at the time of the brief scuffle. Tensions rose when Drummond initially tried to seize his lost rebound back from Frazier and was slow to release his grip when officials whistled Drummond for a common foul. Frazier then ripped the ball away again and appeared to utter something angrily, at which point Drummond took his swat at a player he towered over, inciting a cascade of boos from the crowd.
Officials reviewed the exchange on replay before increasing the severity of the call on Drummond to a flagrant-2 foul, triggering an automatic ejection.
The Pelicans then started to pull away when Holiday’s 3 made it 88-78. Cunningham and Moore each added 3s soon after, and when Davis hit a short fade as he was fouled, New Orleans went up by 22 points.
Detroit did itself in from both the foul line and 3-point line. The Pistons were 3 of 17 on free throws and finished 3 of 23 from 3-point range.
Pistons: Have lost nine of 10 to New Orleans, the lone victory in that stretch coming in Detroit earlier this season. … Drummond recorded his 100th steal of the season. He leads all NBA centers in that category. … The Pistons finished with 23 offensive rebounds, the most New Orleans has allowed this season.
Pelicans: Alexis Ajinca, seeing more playing time than usual because of Cousins’ absence, had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. He has scored 10 or more only three times this season, but twice in the past three games in which he has played. Coach Alvin Gentry said 7-foot center Omer Asik of Turkey has not been with the team since it returned from the All-Star break because of an undisclosed illness that has lasted more than a week and has caused him to lose “significant weight.” Asik was playing only sparingly before his illness, appearing in 31 games this season with averages of 2.7 points and 5.3 rebounds.