Ball leads Pelicans past Pistons in overtime, 117-100
DETROIT (AP) — A makeshift New Orleans Pelicans lineup blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter on Monday.
Lonzo Ball helped his teammates salvage the night.
Ball scored five of his 17 points in overtime and the Pelicans beat the Detroit Pistons 117-110.
“That was a tough game,” Ball said. “We kind of lost it in the fourth quarter, but we got it back in overtime and ended up with a good win.”
The Pistons are still missing starters Blake Griffin (knee), Luke Kennard (knee) and Reggie Jackson (back), while the Pelicans played without their top three scorers — Brandon Ingram (knee), Jrue Holiday (elbow) and JJ Redick (hamstring) — along with Derrick Favors (hamstring) and Zion Williamson (knee).
“Over the course of the NBA season, guys are going to get an opportunity,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “The question is whether or not they take advantage. Tonight, everyone we put in the lineup did that. This was just a great team effort.”
Along with the injuries, Pistons coach Dwane Casey benched Andre Drummond for the fourth quarter and overtime, playing Christian Wood for the final 20:23. Casey also went with youngsters Svi Mykhailiuk and Sekou Doumbouya down the stretch.
“In a situation like that, we’re looking for five or six men who are playing hard and who can finish the game for us,” Casey said. “It wasn’t a message for Andre as much as a message for everyone who wasn’t on the floor. The young guys were playing hard and earned the right to be out there.”
Detroit, which trailed by 16 with 11 minutes to play, tied the game at 100 on Derrick Rose‘s bank shot with 30 seconds left. E’Twaun Moore missed two short jumpers, giving Detroit the ball with 14 seconds remaining.
That gave Rose a chance to replicate his game-winner on Dec. 9 in New Orleans, but he missed at the buzzer.
“It was the same play we ran down there when Derrick won it for us,” Casey said. “He got to his sweet spot again, but this one rimmed out.”
The Pelicans opened overtime with a 9-2 run, including five points from Ball, and Rose had two turnovers in the last 90 seconds.
“I thought Frank (Jackson) did a great job on Rose,” Gentry said. “He did a really good job of being physical and keeping him out of the exact spot he wanted to be.”
New Orleans has won three of four and is now 9-4 after a 6-22 start. Jalil Okafor had 25 points and 14 rebounds while Nicolo Melli scored 20 points and Moore had 16.
The Pistons lost their third straight and their 12th in the last 15 games. Rose had 23 points and eight assists, while Wood added 18 points and nine rebounds. Doumbouya scored 16 points, matching a his career best.
Okafor had 19 points and eight rebounds as the Pelicans took a 63-52 halftime lead.
“My teammates were really urging me on, and once I saw the ball going in, I got into a good rhythm,” he said. “My confidence was through the roof.”
Okafor, though, only had six points after halftime.
“Ja likes to play with his back to the basket and shoot that little jump hook, and he was hitting everything in the first half,” Wood said. “I tried to make him shoot jumpers from further out and that helped.”
Detroit narrowed the gap to seven at the start of the third, but Melli answered with a 3-pointer. The Pelicans kept the gap in double figures for the rest of the quarter, going into the fourth with an 89-77 lead.
Doumbouya’s transition dunk cut it to 97-91 with 6:05 left, and Rose followed with a layup in traffic. Josh Hart and Wood traded 3-pointers, and another layup by Rose pulled the Pistons within 100-98.
Pelicans: With the Pelicans short-handed, rookie Zylon Cheatham entered the rotation as part of coach Alvin Gentry’s second unit. He played 11 minutes, scoring two points in his third NBA game.
Pistons: Guard Jordan Bone, who came into the game with six NBA minutes over three games, was inserted into the game in the first quarter as part of a three-guard second unit. Bone finished with no points in eight first-half minutes.
PISTONS STRUGGLE ON GLASS
The Pelicans dominated on the boards at both ends of the floor, pulling down 90% of Detroit’s missed shots and 31% of their own misses.
“I don’t think that was all hustle, because they are longer than us at a lot of positions. When we go small, we’re really small,” Casey said. “But they did a good job and we need our guards to be better at getting long rebounds.”
Pelicans: Host the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
Pistons: Visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
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