Pistons bring three-game skid into matchup with Pelicans
Detroit gave away a 15-point lead in a 117-111 loss to Philadelphia. New Orleans was outscored 15-3 by Memphis during crunch time and fell 107-103.
They’ll try to let out their frustration against each other in a Sunday matinee at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena on Sunday.
The Pistons (13-10) have lost three straight and face a road rematch with the Sixers on Monday. They have a 9-5 home record but have dropped their last two at LCA.
“Our disposition during those (crucial) moments, our lack of focus, concentration coming out of timeouts, was really bad (Friday),” Detroit power forward Blake Griffin told Pistons.com. “That’s not winning basketball. That’s how you get beat and our record for the last three games has shown that.”
Griffin, who had 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists against the Sixers, is the league’s 10th-leading scorer at 25.2 points per game. But his backcourt turnover began Philadelphia’s third-quarter surge. Overall, Philadelphia scored 18 points off Detroit’s 10 second-half giveaways.
“Turnovers — that’s the bottom line,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s what shot ourselves in the heel. It’s hard to beat anybody when you do that. Philadelphia’s a very good defensive team, but a lot of our turnovers were self-inflicted.”
Injuries have created some rotation issues for Casey. The Pistons are hopeful of getting shooting guard Reggie Bullock (ankle sprain) back in the lineup after a two-game absence. Sixth man Stanley Johnson (knee) was a late scratch on Friday. Backup point guard Ish Smith (adductor) is expected to miss the rest of the month.
The game on Sunday should be a test of power. It not only features Griffin but also the NBA’s rop rebounder in Detroit center Andre Drummond (15.3 per game). New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis ranks fourth in scoring (27.8 ppg), sixth in rebounding (12.5) and second in blocked shots (2.87).
Davis gives everyone fits, but he has saved some of his best performances for the Pistons. He has averaged 30.4 points in 10 games against them, his highest career mark against any opponent. He went scoreless when the Grizzlies mounted their late comeback as the Pelicans’ record dropped to 13-14.
“You’ve got to finish games,” coach Alvin Gentry told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “That’s just the bottom line. It’s not really complicated. It’s a simple thing. You get to the point where you’re eight up at home with 5:18 to go, you’ve got to finish the game. We didn’t do that.”
Lottery pick and power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who played his lone college season at Michigan State, had one of his worst outings this season. He played just 15 minutes and contributed three points and no rebounds while committing four fouls.
Power forward Nikola Mirotic also had a forgettable night, scoring a season-low four points in 20 minutes off the bench. He missed the previous two games with an illness.
New Orleans is also playing the first game of a back-to-back. It faces the Celtics in Boston on Monday night.