Comeback Comes Up Short
Pistons rally to force OT, but Anderson’s 2 late triples lead to 3rd straight loss
But come back the Pistons did. Outrebounded by 38-22 through three quarters, they grabbed 21 in the final quarter and overtime and closed the gap by half. They shut down the paint that New Orleans guards Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans penetrated repeatedly in wracking up 83 points through three quarters. And they rode Greg Monroe, who grew up down the street, to put themselves in position to win.
They might have, too, but Brandon Jennings, whose hot shooting in the first half kept the Pistons from being run out of the building, missed two long jump shots on the final possession of regulation and Ryan Anderson – an elite 3-point shooter who missed 10 of 12 shots behind the arc in regulation – nailed two big ones in overtime to send the Pistons to their third straight loss after they won four straight last week.
For much of the night, it never looked like they’d come close to needing an overtime. New Orleans scored on 14 of its first 17 possessions to take a 29-18 lead in the first eight-plus minutes as Holiday, Gordon and Tyreke Evans – who sprained his ankle last Friday and was supposed to miss a minimum of one week – penetrated repeatedly to set up easy scores.
“It’s on Greg and I, we’ve got to figure it out,” Andre Drummond said. “We can’t continue to let guys come in our paint and do those type of things to us. It’s a building process. We’re going to figure it out. It’s not going to happen for too long.”
The Pistons had stretches where they would put it together at both ends, enough to stay close. They kept the Pelicans scoreless on six straight possessions to pull within a point after one quarter with a 10-0 run, then a 7-0 run late in the second quarter and a 12-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters kept eating into New Orleans leads.
Against all odds, they appeared the fresher team headed to overtime. But Anderson’s triples and New Orleans’ superior foul shooting spared the Pelicans a home giveaway and kept the Pistons from completing a comeback that would have erased the sting of Tuesday’s lopsided home loss to Minnesota.
"We can’t put ourselves in the hole like that."- Greg Monroe on the loss
Full game quotes
“We got a little better on-the-ball defense,” Maurice Cheeks said. “In the first half, they were breaking us down defensively. They were getting inside the paint too easily. In the second half, we closed off their bigs, got a lot better stopping the dribble and we closed off the paint a little more.”
For all of that, they might have won if not for a few things that surely made the trip home a little more troubling. The Pistons again misfired too often at the foul line, missing 10, including a 2 of 7 showing from Monroe that put a damper on his 28-point homecoming.
“We can’t put ourselves in the hole like that,” Monroe said. “I missed some free throws. Technically, if I make one more free throw, we win the game. There were some good things we did, but we didn’t win the game.”
The other haunting specter was getting Rodney Stuckey back from knee tendinitis only to lose him to a thumb injury. Stuckey scored 20 to nicely supplement Monroe’s big night and Jennings’ 25 points, but he was on the bench in overtime with a bag of ice strapped to his hand. The injury happened late in regulation and it was clear Stuckey was hurting when he took a dribble handoff from Jennings with about 12 seconds left in regulation only to pass it right back.
“Not having him out there was tough, having our bulldozer out there to get us some fouls down the stretch,” Drummond said. “But it happens. We’ve got to figure it out.”
They’ll get to do it at home, and against the backsliding Brooklyn Nets, on Friday after a much-needed day off after playing seven games over the last 10 days.