The Pelicans entered this game without Zion Williamson, which didn’t really matter since the Pistons were without Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren once again.
Against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, Nerlens Noel’s defense was a huge part of the comeback, but that was not the case today. He didn’t have an answer for Jonas Valanciunas, a player who probably weighs close to 60 pounds more than him.
Despite not being able to stop Valanciunas, the Pistons hung tough in the 1st quarter as they only trailed 32-28 after 1. It helped that Bojan Bogdanovic couldn’t miss, literally, as he was 6-of-6 in the quarter.
New Orleans started to take control of the game in the 2nd quarter. The Pistons kept the game closer than it should, but with no backup center and a few bench pieces missing, it was bound to happen. They would enter halftime trailing 59-50.
Tell me if you have heard this before, but things went off the rails a bit in the 3rd quarter. Nerlens Noel got into foul trouble early and Jonas Valanciunas continued to dominate. The Pelicans lead would balloon to 17 points and it looked like they would run away with this one.
Enter Hamidou Diallo. The Pistons decided to put Hamidou Diallo in as the de facto 5 and he used his chaos and energy to flip the game on it’s head. Just like Noel, he didn’t have the strength to handle Valanciunas, but he could outjump and outrun him.
The Pistons played fast and everybody played off of Hamidou Diallo’s controlled chaos.
With the assistance of Kevin Knox and Bojan Bogdanovic on defense, the Pistons were able to dwindle a 17 point Pelican lead to 4 points at one point.
As we got closer to the finish line, it looked like the Pistons might even be able to steal this one. However, they didn’t quite have enough stops to steal this one. They would eventually fall 116-110.
Diallo finished the game with 19 points and 7 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting. Saddiq Bey had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas would finish the game with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting.
The Pistons will play the final game of their home stand before departing for Paris on Sunday against the Knicks.