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Ingram scores 26, Pelicans extend Pistons’ skid to 11 games

December 11, 2021 GMT
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 26 points and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated Detroit 109-93 on Friday night, extending the Pistons’ losing streak to 11 games.

Ingram has averaged nearly 22 points in his past five games, including a 40-point outing.

“He’s getting into a groove,” Pelicans first-year coach Willie Green said. “He’s starting to see different defenses and know how to pick them apart.”

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter but led by as many as 27 in the second half.

Josh Hart had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker also scored 14 for the Pelicans, who took the lead for good in the third quarter, when they outscored the Pistons 29-12.

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“We got some stops. I think that’s what it came down to,” Ingram said. “Guys just pushed the pace and we got the best shot for our offense and we just continued to do it over and over again.”

Trey Lyles scored 18 on 7-of-8 shooting and rookie Cade Cunningham added 16 points for Detroit, but the Pistons missed 19 of 24 shots in the decisive third quarter.

“We collapsed. We totally gave in to adversity,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “You should know the team is going to come out and make a run.

“We can’t continue to come out after halftime and not be ready to compete,” Casey added. “There were a lot of little breakdowns we had defensively. There were things we didn’t do on offense. We missed about six layups.”

With both clubs struggling early this season, the Pistons opened the game seemingly sensing that their stop in the Big Easy represented a good chance to end their skid.

Cunningham scored 11 of his points in the first half and Detroit led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter when Hamidou Diallo’s soaring dunk, set up by Cory Joseph’s no-look bounce pass, made it 43-28.

But Ingram scored 11 of his 24 first-half points in the final 4:38 of the second quarter, including his 3 while being fouled by Saddiq Bey for a 4-point play. Soon after, Ingram hit two more free throws to briefly put New Orleans in front before Stewart’s 16-foot pull-up put the Pistons ahead 55-54 at halftime.

Ingram said he was aggressive shooting the ball in the first half because he “knew this was a game where Detroit wanted to come in and hit us first.”

New Orleans then opening the third quarter with a 10-0 run that included 3s by Devonte’ Graham and rookie Herbert Jones. The Pelicans’ lead ballooned to 18 points later in the period when Alexander-Walker made a 3 and layup in succession.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Diallo and Jeremi Grant each scored 11 points ... Pistons reserves combined for 46 points. ... Detroit shot 39.6% (36 of 91).

Pelicans: Jones scored 10 points for New Orleans while Graham and Garrett Temple each scored nine on three 3-pointers apiece. ... Green said he expects to give more playing time to guard Tomas Satoransky in the wake of Kira Lewis Jr.’s major knee injury. “He’s earned it. He’s been playing better,” Green said of Satoransky. “He’s a guy that’s done it for a number of years. He’s proven, but everybody has to step up.” Lewis, a 2020 first-round draft choice, tore an ACL during Wednesday night’s loss to Denver. ... Valanciunas accidentally elbowed official Bill Kennedy in the face while going up for a jump ball, knocking Kennedy to the floor.

RISING OPTIMISM

The Pelicans have improved in recent weeks while awaiting star forward Zion Williamson’s return from an offseason foot fracture. Since starting 2-14, New Orleans has won six of 12.

“The fight and the competitiveness has been great and I still feel like we gave a couple games away,” Hart said. “So 6-6 is a step in the right direction. That realistically could have been 8-4, 9-3, and that’s something that comes with growing, comes with learning. ... For the most part, I’m definitely happy with where we are and where we’re going as a team.”

UP NEXT

Pistons: Host Brooklyn on Sunday.

Pelicans: Visit San Antonio on Sunday.

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