Pistons come up with a stinker in loss to Pelicans

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons haven't had to answer many questions in recent seasons about handling prosperity.

Wednesday night, every time New Orleans Pelicans all-world forward Anthony Davis tipped in a dunk or soared above the rim for an acrobatic play, it was a reminder home stinkers aren't yet out of this team's system.

Davis and Pistons center Andre Drummond are 2012 draftmates and were teammates on the USA national team last summer, but Davis was invincible while Drummond was invisible Wednesday in the Pelicans' 105-94 win over the Pistons at The Palace.

Drummond's second straight infeffective game seriously hurt the Pistons. He was so out of sorts that Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy pulled him midway through the third after a two-point, two-rebound night.

Drummond's first contribution was a goaltend on a ball that was headed out the rim, signifying his off-night, and might be playing a part in Van Gundy openly pondering starting lineup changes.

Van Gundy's options are limited, however, with Drummond lacking energy to his game, averaging just 7.5 rebounds over the last four games.

"It's four games in a row where he hasn't brought a lot to the game," Van Gundy said. "And we need him, obviously. He hasn't given us a whole lot. Tonight he didn't rebound. So we just sat him down.

"We brought absolutely no energy whatsoever to the game. That's starting to be a trend at the start of games. I don't know how much longer we'll go with that lineup."

Clearly, the Pistons are concerned about Drummond. Point guard Brandon Jennings echoed Van Gundy's statement about needing him.

"We all know what Andre is capable of doing," Jennings said. "He's the type that gets 15 (points) and 20 (rebounds) without having plays called for him. Andre has to get with himself and talk about it. I'm gonna try to talk to him, of course. We need him."

Meanwhile, Davis showed why Van Gundy sang his praises before the game, as the Pistons coach said there's nobody in the NBA playing better than him. Davis was nonpareil on the Palace floor, with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

The Pelicans' strength matched the Pistons' as they have mammoth Omer Asik to match up with Drummond and Greg Monroe. Unlike Monday, the Pistons were obliterated on the glass, 47-30, and scored 20 second-chance points to the Pistons' two.

Jennings, who led the Pistons with 19 points, said the starting five "was lazy, including myself."

Monroe was matched up against Davis and had his share of success at both ends, with 16 points and eight rebounds (six in the first quarter).

Asik grabbed 13 rebounds while Tyreke Evans, pressed into point guard duty with Pelicans starting point guard Jrue Holiday injured, grabbed eight of his own to go with 18 points and nine assists.

The Pistons couldn't take advantage of the Pelicans not having a true floor general, falling behind 10-2 and then getting blitzed in the second quarter as the Pelicans went on an 19-2 run after the Pistons pulled to within four.

"As the first five, including myself, we have to find ways to get going," Jennings said. "We can't rely on our teammates in holes to where they have to come in and get us going. Who wants to come in the game down 16?"

Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson,who blossomed under Van Gundy in Orlando and fits the mold of a "stretch four," scored nine in the quarter while Jimmer Fredette scored all eight of his points in the period.

The Pistons couldn't get out of their own way, whether it was defensive breakdowns, Jonas Jerebko double-dribbling with no defender in sight on a fast break, or Kyle Singler's lookaway pass that went directly into the hands of Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter, the latter two of which led to tongue lashings from Van Gundy.

Drummond's ineffectiveness led to the Pistons being dominated on the glass. The Pelicans had a 24-10 edge in rebounding at the half.

And there was no Jennings explosion in the third quarter to bail out the Pistons this time. It was a whipping, and they had to take it. Jennings scored 15 in the third, aggressively fighting through frustration to get to the line, but the Pistons couldn't cut into the massive advantage.

The Pistons never made the Pelicans sweat and for the first time in a long time, resembled the team that lost 23 of its first 28.