Pelicans lose a close one to Detroit

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 23: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans sits on the bench with an injury in his finger during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Smoothie King Center on January 23, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 23: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans sits on the bench with an injury in his finger during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Smoothie King Center on January 23, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Playing in their second straight game without Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans lose a close game to the Detroit Pistons.

While the New Orleans Pelicans may have gotten some good news regarding Anthony Davis’ injury, not having the superstar forward hurt them tremendously down the stretch as the Pelicans fell to the Detroit Pistons 98-94. Here’s a recap of the game.

Key stat of the game…

21. This was the total amount of points the Pistons outscored the Pelicans from behind the arc. In fact only two players, Nikola Mirotic and Darius Miller, even hit threes in a game that was only decided by four points. This has been a constant issue all season as the team averages only 10.1 three-pointers made per game. This ranks 23rd in the NBA.

The lack of a consistent three-point threat allows teams to crowd the paint and make scoring on the inside troublesome at times. To the Pelicans credit they were able to score 72 of their 94 points in the paint, but when they needed a three down the stretch they were unable to capitalize.

It was over when…

When a game ends in just a four point difference, no team really had delivered a knockout punch. A pivotal moment come with less than two minutes left and the Pistons nursing a slim three point lead. The Pistons missed the first shot on the possession and then grabbed the offensive board. They proceeded to miss the next three shots and grabbed those rebounds as well.

The possession ended after four offensive rebounds and two free throws for the Pistons. The Pelicans inability to grab key rebounds, whether through hustle or positioning, ultimately cost them major down the stretch. Without their best player, the Pelicans will need to win all the hustle plays if they want to have a chance in games.

Player of the game…

Jahlil Okafor. The Pelicans big man is seeing a small resurgence happen in his career. Coming off an impressive 20 point and 10 rebound performance against the Memphis Grizzles on Monday, Okafor had another solid game finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. An even more impressive stat was the 6 blocks Okafor had on the night.

This spurt is truly needed with AD out at least until next week. Okafor is the Pelicans only other back to the basket player and if he continues to play at a high level, expect minutes for him even when AD does return. The Pelicans have a logjam of bug men, but one who can truly score in the paint is valuable.

Next. Can the Pelicans win without AD?. dark

The New Orleans Pelicans travel to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. The health of Nikola Mirotic will be in question after he left the game in the 4th quarter with a strained calf. Hopefully he can be in the lineup as the Pelicans will need all the firepower they can get to take down the mighty Thunder.