Pistons at Pelicans Game Preview - December 11, 2013
While Tyreke Evans' absence won't help matters, the rest of the team figures to have fresh legs following four days off.
Evans will miss the first of several games as New Orleans tries to avoid a third consecutive defeat Wednesday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons.
The Pelicans (9-10) have dropped two of three since losing Davis to a broken hand after Friday's 109-95 loss to Oklahoma City.
Things aren't about to get any easier for New Orleans, which saw Evans go down with a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.
Evans, averaging 11.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 24.9 minutes off the bench, could miss as much as two weeks. The Pelicans are 8-1 when he scores at least 13 points.
"Obviously it's really tough to have Tyreke and Anthony out," forward Ryan Anderson told the team's official website. "Tyreke's been playing great lately. He's been really great off the bench, bringing a ton of energy and bringing what we need, a spark.
"It's hard, but at the same time, that happens. This is a sport where it's incredibly common for somebody to be hurt. We have to prepare for that. We want him to get back as soon as possible, but he's got to heal and recover."
New Orleans has followed a four-game home winning streak with three consecutive losses there. The Pelicans, who allowed the Thunder to shoot 50.6 percent, are 3-9 when allowing 100 points or more.
"It was a tough loss," Anderson said. "We've just got to be better and bring it the next game. I think it's huge for this team to have these couple days to reflect and figure out how we can get better and improve. ... We have to get in the gym and work on the things we need to and get better."
New Orleans has won six straight against Eastern Conference opponents while averaging 116.5 points, 13.5 more than its season mark. While the Pelicans have also posted four consecutive home wins over the Pistons (10-12), they aren't expecting anything to come easy.
"They're big guys. They're a big-time post team," center Jason Smith said of Detroit, averaging an NBA best-tying 50.6 points in the paint. "(Greg) Monroe is definitely a physical player. (Andre) Drummond - big body, athletic young player. It's just something that we have to know going in. We have to have a certain mindset that it's going to be a battle."
The Pistons are also looking to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 121-94 to Minnesota on Tuesday. Monroe was limited to 10 points and a season-low two rebounds while Drummond posted eight and eight.
Detroit, which surrendered its most points this season, made 8 of 16 free throws while the Timberwolves went 28 of 33.
"We have to go back to the drawing board, we have a game tomorrow so we have to get ready for that one," said rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a season-high 16. "We have to just let this one go and get ready for the next game."
Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings is averaging 24.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting over the last three games, well above his season marks of 17.2 and 40.2.
Detroit has outscored opponents by an average of 11.5 points during a four-game road winning streak, its longest since taking five straight in 2007-08.