This game wasn't a must-win, but it was a pretty important game. The Pistons are on the outside looking in on the Eastern Conference playoff race, and each loss leaves a smaller margin of error. The Pistons have struggled as of late, and this should have been a game to get them back on track. That was before Anthony Davis decided to go super-saiyan.
The Pistons outplayed the Pelicans for the most part, but there isn't much you can do when a player scores 59, like Davis did. He broke the Palace scoring record set by LeBron James in 2008 of 48 points. He simply could not miss. Going in for dunks, throwing up fade-away jumpers over Andre Drummond, and draining 3s. It was just one of those games.
The Pistons were down 28-25 after the 1st quarter, but it was probably the best-looking first quarter in the last two weeks. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond both appeared to be stepping up like the leaders they need to be. Andre Drummond had 9 points in the 1st quarter, and they both appeared to be more engaged defensively.
The Pistons would play a solid 2nd quarter and tie the game up at 55 going into the half. They got a bit sloppy at the end of the quarter, as they were up 55-50 with a minute left in the quarter. Anthony Davis had 26 points and 13 rebounds at the half, but it appeared the Pistons would be able to weather that storm.
However, Davis was even more dominant in the 2nd half, and the Pistons simply did not have enough to overcome it. He scored 33 points in the 2nd half, including 19 in the 4th quarter. The Pistons kept the game close throughout the half, but it simply was not enough to overcome the best individual performance in the NBA this season.
The Pistons even looked like they might find a way to pull this out. Down 105-101 in the 4th quarter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got a steal, but an ill-advised pull up 3 that he air balled pretty much ended any hope of the comeback. KCP struggled for the 2nd straight game since returning from injury by finishing 4-15 from the field.
There were a couple bright spots for the Pistons that are overshadowed by the performance by Anthony Davis. Andre Drummond had 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Reggie Jackson tried to keep the team in the game in the 4th quarter with 10 points in the quarter, and he finished with 34 for the game. Both players stepped up, but it wasn't quite enough.
As for the Pelicans, the obvious stand-out performer for the Pelicans was Anthony Davis with 59 points and 20 rebounds. He was only the 2nd player in the last 40 years with a 55-20 game. The other player who achieved that feat is Shaquille O'Neal. Also of note for the Pelicans is Jrue Holliday with 20 points off the bench.
This is a disappointing loss for the Pistons as their playoff hopes become more bleak. As Maurice Cheeks used to say, "There is nothing you can do about that." There really isn't when a player plays like Davis did today.