Griffin, Pistons take down Davis-less Pelicans
Blake Griffin scored 37 points and the visiting Detroit Pistons held off a New Orleans Pelicans rally for a 98-94 victory Wednesday night. Reggie Jackson added 17 points and Jon Leuer scored 11 off the bench for the Pistons, who improved to 1-1 on a three-game road trip that concludes Friday at Dallas.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 29 points, Jahlil Okafor had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Julius Randle had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Nikola Mirotic added 11 points before a strained right calf sidelined him in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans played their second consecutive game without All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who suffered a sprained index finger in a 128-112 loss at Portland last Friday.
Coach Alvin Gentry estimated that Davis would miss one or two weeks, though he said before Wednesday's game that it could be "as much as four weeks." The Pistons led by 10 points and halftime and they maintained a comparable margin throughout the third quarter.
Their biggest lead was 13 points and their smallest lead was seven before they finished with a 79-70 lead at the end of the quarter. The Pelicans scored the first four points of the quarter and later pulled ahead 82-81 on a 3-pointer by Mirotic with 7:42 to play.
Detroit responded with an 11-4 run for a 92-86 lead. Okafor made one of two free throws, but a Griffin tip-in and Jackson free throw made it 95-87 in favor of Detroit with 1:32 left.
A basket by Holiday and a 3-pointer by Darius Miller got the Pelicans within three, and after a Griffin miss they had the ball with a chance to tie the game with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation. Frank Jackson missed a 3-pointer and Randle tried to tip the rebound to Miller, but Reggie Bullock grabbed the ball and drove in for a layup and a 97-92 lead with 14 seconds left.
Griffin scored 20 points as the Pistons outscored the Pelicans 31-28 in the first quarter. Detroit increased its lead to 12 on two occasions before settling for a 57-47 halftime lead. --Field Level Media