(Field Level Media) The New Orleans Pelicans have won their last five games against teams with losing records.
After getting battered in Boston on Saturday, the Pelicans look to beat up on another weak opponent as they face the Pistons in Detroit on Monday night.
New Orleans had no answers for the Celtics as they surrendered a season high 140 points in a 35-point loss.
"We just never got any traction, offensively or defensively," coach Alvin Gentry said. "They took us out of just about everything we tried to do. ... We just never got into any kind of rhythm. Obviously, being short-handed against a team that's desperate and has the ability to play at the level that they played at is just not a good thing."
Starting guard Jrue Holiday (elbow) and center Derrick Favors (hamstring) missed the game, as did guard JJ Redick (hamstring). Forward Zion Williamson, the top pick in the draft, is inching closer to his NBA debut after suffering a knee injury during the preseason. Williamson has been practicing but once he suits up, the Pelicans will take a cautious approach.
"We're trying to gauge exactly when it would be a good situation to put him out there," Gentry said. "Even when we do, it'll be very limited minutes to start."
Gentry's club had won seven of its last nine games prior to the debacle at Boston, in which it allowed 74 points in the paint. The team's top offensive threat, forward Brandon Ingram, was limited to 16 points on 4-for-15 shooting and committed five turnovers.
"It's important for me to not let the defense dictate what I'm doing on offense," Ingram said. "Of course, you have to make adjustments; one thing I did a good job of is making adjustments. ... I don't think I did a good job of that (Saturday)."
Ingram scored 31 points in the first meeting with Detroit this season on Dec. 9 but the Pistons prevailed in New Orleans, 105-103. Detroit's sixth man, Derrick Rose, scored 21 points and made the game-winning shot.
Rose has reached the 20-point mark in seven of the last eight games but the Pistons have lost 11 of their last 14 contests.
In their last two games, they dropped home games to Cleveland (115-112 in overtime) and Chicago (108-99).
Down three starters, the Pistons have been forced into a youth movement. Rookie forward Sekou Doumbouya, originally slated to spend most of the season in the G League, has become a starter. Second-year swingman Svi Mykhailiuk has also been moved into the lineup and second-year guard Bruce Brown ranks second on the team in total minutes played.
"Young guys are going to make mistakes," coach Dwane Casey said. "It's up to us as coaches to continue to teach and develop and keep their spirits up and make sure our foundation and culture of hard play stays intact."
Center Andre Drummond made a major mistake against the Bulls, throwing the ball off the back of Daniel Gafford's head after Gafford taunted him. Drummond was ejected early in the third quarter for the incident.
The Pistons were playing from behind much of the way after Chicago outscored them 35-20 in the first quarter.
"Lack of intensity," Casey said. "I take responsibility for that. We didn't get our guys ready to play and come out with the right intensity. In the second half we did and I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win."
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