Pistons at Hornets Game Preview - Mar. 1, 2013

Regular Season Game #61

The New Orleans Hornets handily got by the Detroit Pistons two weeks ago despite Eric Gordon's absence and an ugly line from Anthony Davis. Coach Monty Williams' team certainly missed both guys during its last game.

While Gordon figures to return, Davis is uncertain to be available again Friday night as the Hornets host the Pistons.

New Orleans (20-39) rolled to an easy 105-86 victory at Detroit (23-37) on Feb. 11 behind Ryan Anderson's 31 points and Robin Lopez's 23 and 10 rebounds. Davis scored one point and shot 0 of 7 that night while Gordon, who continues to sit out the second games of back-to-backs as he works his way back from a knee injury, didn't play.

One night after falling 101-97 to Brooklyn, the Hornets never really had a chance Wednesday at Oklahoma City with Gordon and Davis sidelined. Anderson had 14 points but was the only player to score in double figures as the Hornets suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season, 119-74.

Davis sprained his left shoulder in a collision Tuesday and is listed as day-to-day.

"That's part of the game. We don't make any excuses about not having guys," said Williams, whose team has dropped five of six. "If you get a chance to play in the NBA, you've got to cherish it. It's a blessing to play in the NBA. Not everybody looks at it that way."

Greivis Vasquez had six points and shot 3 of 13 on Wednesday while Lopez scored seven on 2-of-10 shooting. The Hornets were outrebounded 48-25.

"We're young and we're learning but that can't be an excuse every time we lose," said rookie Austin Rivers, who started in place of Gordon. "We just have to flush this away and move forward. We still have a lot of games left. We've got so much to improve on.

"Things can turn around so quickly. We've got so much talent and it's not just talent, we work hard. We work so hard. So, we've just got to keep building and it'll come."

The Pistons had dropped three in a row before kicking off a three-game road trip with Wednesday's 96-95 win over Washington. Brandon Knight, who missed the previous three games due to a right knee injury, returned to score a career-high 32 points.

"The biggest thing for us was just playing with energy," Knight said. "That's what I saw sitting on the side for the past three games - our lack of fight. For me, it wasn't about making shots, it was about coming in and trying to make sure we played Pistons basketball." Detroit has won eight straight when Knight posts at least 17 points. The second-year guard scored just seven on 3-of-10 shooting in the Feb. 11 loss to New Orleans.

"He's a big part of what we do," center Greg Monroe said of Knight, "so whenever he's on the floor, guys do feel better."

Monroe also came up big Wednesday with 26 points and 11 boards. Recently acquired point guard Jose Calderon, meanwhile, matched a season high with 18 assists.

Detroit recorded assists on each of its first 16 field goals, its best such start in at least a decade.

"(Calderon) got our guys easy baskets and delivered the ball exactly at the right time," coach Lawrence Frank said. "He will continue to get better because he is still learning our guys."

The Pistons have dropped 28 of their last 29 road matchups against Western Conference teams, including all eight this season by an average of 12.2 points. They've lost three straight at New Orleans, but haven't visited since Dec. 8, 2010.