After rebounding and parting with two games in Orlando, the Detroit Pistons felt the effects of a back-to-back game. Detroit ended its eight-day road trip with a 128-118 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, despite heading for much of the game.
The Pistons played three games in four nights and led the Pelicans for much of Wednesday’s game before the travel effects kick in.
Detroit had six straight sets in the first half of the schedule, dividing two of them. They lost both games in the others. For coach Dwane Casey, those back-to-back games and suffering through losses is all about building calluses for the future.
Here are some takeaways.
The pistons start hot: Detroit entered an early pace thanks to solid play from Saben Lee and Dennis Smith Jr. This also helped Josh Jackson come out with his usual intensity, 10 of 18 overall and 25 points Jackson scored double-digit points in the last five games and became one of the team’s most consistent scorers at the rim.
Jackson also had another disruptive night on defense, helping the Pistons force 13 Pelicans turnovers.
Center Mason Plumlee also gave a big boost, collecting 21 points and helping set up the games, while keeping Pelicans center Steven Adams in check. Plumlee also had nine rebounds and seven assists. The veteran center was on track for his eighth double-double of the season and possibly his second career triple-double before the Pistons dropped in fourth.
Second part of a consecutive catch-up: Detroit were five points clear at halftime, but turnovers and a blocked attack helped New Orleans gain ground in the third.
The Pelicans started the fourth with a bang as Zion Williams opened with a layup and JJ Redick hit three straight, setting the tone for the remainder of the game. New Orleans beat the Pistons 32-22 in the fourth of 11 of 15 shots.
Detroit struggled to keep pace with New Orleans and ended up giving up 26 points in transition. Pelicans score an average of 12.5% of their points in transition. About 20% of their points on Wednesday came from quick breaks.
“Coming back to transition, 26 transition points is a typical indicator that something is wrong with regards to your coming back energy level, whatever it is,” Casey said. “But it creates calluses. This season is going to create calluses in a game like tonight, the back to back that we are going to face.
The bench unit tries to give as much energy as possible: The Pistons’ reserve unit has been one of her highlights this season and she has tried to deliver again. He has led the league for much of the season in terms of scores and continues to sit at the top averaging 42.1 points per game. The Detroit bench scored 63 points, a season-high, beating New Orleans reserves by 31 points.
The Pistons bench was led by Jackson’s 25 points, but Lee, Isaiah Stewart and Svi Mykhailiuk also all scored in double digits while combining for 36 points.
Those four, along with Frank Jackson, combined for 25 of 44 shots overall, 7 of 16 of three and 6 of 8 from the free throw line.