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Published September 13, 2015
It's a good thing for the New Orleans Pelicans that Ryan Anderson doesn't let an off night stop him from unleashing long-range shots with the game on the line.
Anderson shook off some unusually poor shooting and hit two clutch 3-pointers in overtime that carried the New Orleans Pelicans to a 111-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
"It's important that I stay aggressive on this team. I think coach has a lot of confidence in me, a lot of faith in me and if I'm passive or if I don't take a shot when I'm open, it could hurt the team," Anderson said. "So when I get an open chance I want to shoot it confidently. ... You can never give up your confidence on the court, no matter how awful the shooting night you have."
Jason Smith showed he is getting increasingly comfortable at center after spending much of his early pro career at power forward. The 7-footer never backed down against the size and strength Detroit had underneath with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Smith scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds for the Pelicans, who snapped a two-game skid while handing Detroit its third straight loss.
"He was a monster tonight," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "Here's a guy doing it on both ends of the floor, has a career night and just didn't give in."
Anderson finished with 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting, including 4 of 12 from 3-point range. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and Al-Farouq Aminu, whose teammates call him "Chief," had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Asked what it meant for the Pelicans to outrebound Detroit 51-43 — turning 16 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points — Anderson said, "It means Jason and Chief battled their tails off tonight. ... It just means that we wanted it more."
New Orleans also got 14 points from Tyreke Evans, whom the Pelicans expected to miss a week or two after an ankle sprain Friday. Instead, he returned without missing a game, but acknowledged he played in pain.
"I just felt like I could help," said Evans, adding that he understood his team was already short-handed because of Anthony Davis' broken hand. "Once I felt like I could run and cut side-to-side, I said, 'I'm going to play.'"
Monroe, a New Orleans native, had 28 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit, which led by three points early in overtime before Anderson's first 3 of the extra session tied it. Brandon Jennings added 25 points and Rodney Stuckey 20 for the Pistons.
Drummond had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but was disappointed New Orleans established itself as better team near the basket.
"It's on Greg and I to figure it out. We can't continue to let guys come in our paint and do those kinds of things to us," Drummond said. "It's a building process and we're going to figure it out. It's not going to happen for too long."
Detroit had one last lead when Jennings stole the ball from Holiday and heaved the ball down-court to Monroe for a fast-break dunk to make it 103-102. That's when Anderson responded with his second 3 of the extra period to give New Orleans the lead for good.
"We lost track of him in overtime," Monroe said of Anderson. "With a guy like that, you can't give him one second to get that shot off. ... We did a good job most of the game, but he hurt us in overtime."
Detroit trailed 108-106 after Jennings' floater off the glass with 13 seconds left. Detroit then fouled Evans, who missed his second free throw, but Josh Smith was called for a lane violation, and Evans hit on his extra chance to seal it.
The Pelicans led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter when Holiday's 15-foot pull-up made it 83-71, but that lead evaporated when Stuckey's turnaround jumper late in the period began a 12-0 Detroit run that included Monroe's layup and putback.
Detroit finally tied the game at 96 on Josh Smith's running hook with 1:19 left. Both teams then went cold, each failing to score on a pair of possessions, and the game went to overtime after Jennings missed two jumpers in the final seconds.
NOTES: Eric Gordon scored 14 for New Orleans. ... Smith scored 11 for Detroit. ... The Pistons rested Chauncey Billups in what was the Pistons' second game in as many nights, while Stuckey returned from a two-game absence cause by left knee soreness.