AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Three minutes into the game, Monty Williams thought his New Orleans Hornets were in major trouble.
Playing their second road game in two nights, the Hornets looked completely lost against the Pistons. They turned the ball over twice in their first three possessions and quickly trailed 8-0.
Williams called a quick timeout, but chose not to berate his players.
"There are a lot of times that I'm going to jump on the guys when they play like that, but I didn't think this was the time for yelling and screaming," Williams said. "I just wanted to settle everyone down and get us playing basketball."
The strategy worked. New Orleans scored the next eight points and ended up cruising to a 105-86 victory Monday night.
"I was concerned, because after we lost last night, we had really focused on being the aggressors tonight," said Robin Lopez, who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. "The important thing was that we bounced right back and took control of the game. Scoring the next eight points showed that we weren't going to play another game like we did last night in Toronto."
The Hornets, coming off a 102-89 loss at Toronto on Sunday for their fifth defeat in seven games, were in control for the final 40 minutes against Detroit.
Wearing their purple, green and gold Mardi Gras jerseys, New Orleans finished with 10 blocks to just three for the Pistons and dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. The New Orleans starting frontcourt — Lopez, Anthony Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu — combined for 36 points, 32 rebounds and eight blocks.
"Robin, A.D. and Al-Farouq are all really long, so they can give teams a lot of trouble inside," Williams said. "Robin was matched up against Greg Monroe, who is a stud, but he was able to do a great job against him and still help A.D. out against Jason Maxiell. Al-Farouq had a couple blocks on the fast break where he looked a lot like LeBron."
Ryan Anderson did the rest of the damage for New Orleans, coming off the bench with 31 points. Anderson hit five 3-pointers, but Williams was more impressed by his ability to do other things.
"Ryan's not just a shooter, despite what people think," he said. "There was a play tonight where he pump-faked the defender and then went to the rim and dunked. I don't think anyone in the building expected him to dunk that one."
In their last five games, the Pistons had beaten the Spurs and Bucks and lost close games to the Lakers and the Nets, but they were no match for the 18-34 Hornets on Monday. Playing without rookie center Andre Drummond (back), the Pistons had no answer for New Orleans inside.