Postgame recap: Pelicans 118, Pistons 103

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Pelicans (30-26), Pistons (27-29)

DETROIT – A lineup shuffle Monday elevated 10-day contract signee Emeka Okafor to New Orleans’ starting lineup, while moving recent trade acquisition Nikola Mirotic to a reserve role. Both players flourished in their new responsibilities, helping to key a Pelicans road victory in brand-new Little Caesars Arena. In 13 minutes of action, Okafor turned in a solid eight-point, seven-rebound game, while Mirotic played arguably his best contest as a Pelican, totaling 21 points and 12 rebounds. That performance came two days after he went for 21 and 16 at Brooklyn.

New Orleans, which improved to 11-1 during Anthony Davis’ six-year NBA career vs. Detroit, finishes its pre-All-Star portion of the schedule Wednesday at home against the Lakers. Although the Okafor/Mirotic switch was very effective against Detroit, Alvin Gentry pointed out after Monday's game that decisions on who will start at the big position next to Davis will be determined on a game-by-game basis, factoring into matchups presented by the opponent.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

New Orleans built a 16-point lead with four-plus minutes remaining, when Darius Miller sank a right-wing three-pointer, leading to a Detroit timeout. Not long after Miller’s trey, the Pistons began subbing in deep reserves such as second-year forward Henry Ellenson.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Davis nearly always dominates Detroit, highlighted by a 59-point game at the Palace of Auburn Hills two seasons ago. On this night the five-time All-Star went for 38 points and 10 rebounds, scoring in efficient fashion by making 14 of his 24 shots from the field. He had the shooting touch from all areas of the court, going 3/6 beyond the arc and sinking all seven of his free throws. Detroit center Andre Drummond finished with 13 points and 21 rebounds, but the New Orleans defense in the paint helped limit the Pistons All-Star to 4/12 shooting.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“He did a good job. He was able to rebound the basketball, set screens for us, block some shots. He was talking a lot on defense, banging down low with Andre (Drummond).” – Davis on Okafor’s contributions

“It was awesome. It feels good to be back in whatever capacity. Being able to start tonight was awesome, and being able to contribute to the win.” – A visibly pleased Okafor after being a late addition to the starting lineup at center, his first NBA starting assignment in nearly five full years

“He’s shooting well, rebounding extremely well, passing, playing great defense. I think he did well on Blake (Griffin) in the times he had him, denying him the ball, fronting him. He’s helping us a lot.” – Davis on Mirotic, who had an up-and-down first few games with New Orleans but excelled in wins at Brooklyn and Detroit

BY THE NUMBERS

63-49: New Orleans scoring advantage in the middle quarters. The Pelicans led by a point through one period, but extended their edge to 95-80 through three.

31: Pelicans assists, led by 12 from Jrue Holiday and eight by Rajon Rondo.

100: Percentage from the foul line for the Pelicans, who sank all 16 attempts.

Pelicans-Pistons Postgame: Emeka Okafor 2-12-18

Pelicans forward Emeka Okafor talks recaps tonight's 118-103 road win vs the Detroit Pistons and what it was like to make his first start with the Pelicans

Game 57: Pelicans at Pistons 2/12/18

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Pelicans-Pistons Postgame: Emeka Okafor 2-12-18

Pelicans forward Emeka Okafor talks recaps tonight's 118-103 road win vs the Detroit Pistons and what it was like to make his first start with the Pelicans
Feb 12, 2018  |  01:57

Pelicans-Pistons Postgame: Anthony Davis 2-12-18

Pelicans forward Anthony Davis recaps tonight's 118-103 road win vs the Detroit Pistons
Feb 12, 2018  |  02:15

Pelicans-Pistons Postgame: Alvin Gentry 2-12-18

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry recaps tonight's 118-103 road victory over the Detroit Pistons
Feb 12, 2018  |  05:00

Pelicans Highlights vs. Detroit Pistons - 2/12/18

The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Detroit Pistons 118-103 to move their record to 30-26 on the year.
Feb 12, 2018  |  02:59

Jrue Holiday scores 21 vs Pistons - 2/12/18

Jrue Holiday put up 21 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and a block in a win at the Detroit Pistons.
Feb 12, 2018  |  01:59

Pelicans with 14 3-pointers vs Pistons - 2/12/18

The Pelicans went 14-34 from behind the arc in a 118-103 win over the Detroit Pistons
Feb 12, 2018  |  01:56

Anthony Davis Game High 38 Points vs Pistons - 2/12/18

Anthony Davis continued his dominance, putting up 38 points on 14-24 shooting, going 3-6 from behind the arc. He added 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and an assist in a 118-103 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Feb 12, 2018  |  01:55

Nikola Mirotic with 21 vs Pistons - 2/12/18

Nikola Mirotic scored 21 points, adding 12 rebounds, an assist, and a steal vs the Detroit Pistons.
Feb 12, 2018  |  01:28

AD is oozing And-1s

And-1s are like broken records for Anthony Davis tonight
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:17

Davis with another strong And-1

Jrue Holiday finds AD who just won't be stopped
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:17

Mirotic with 13 points in the 3rd vs Pistons

Nikola Mirotic was on fire in the 3rd Quarter
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:42

Mirotic gets the steal and dunk

Nikola Mirotic doesn't give up on the play, gets the steal, and finishes with the dunk
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:11

Anthony Davis with the And-1

AD runs the court and gets the dish from Jrue for a smooth And-1
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:26

Rondo with a serious block

Rajon Rondo trails the play and times the block perfectly
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:16

Nice passing leads to Okafor dunk

E'Twaun Moore completes a good series of passes with Okafor finishing
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:12

Okafor policing the paint

Emeka Okafor goes up to high to deny the bucket
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:17

Davis with the spin and dunk

Anthony Davis takes matters into his own hands with the spin and dunk
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:10

Anthony Davis with the Alley-Oop

Rondo finds Davis for the easy looking alley-oop
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:26

Rondo to Cheick for the Dunk

Rajon Rondo with the nice dish to Cheick Diallo for the dunk
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:13

AD with back to back buckets

Anthony Davis' stroke is on point early on
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:17

Alley-Oop to Jrue

E'Twaun Moore connects with Jrue Holiday in transition
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:09

2-pts Made by Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday with the scoop and score
Feb 12, 2018  |  00:09