DETROIT — Anthony Davis seems to save some of his biggest offensive nights for the Detroit Pistons. Alvin Gentry says the Pistons shouldn't feel too bad about that.
"I was on the Golden State staff when we played them in the playoffs and he averaged 32 points against us," Gentry said. "It's not just them. I think it might be him. He's a really good player and he never forces anything."
Davis has had the Pistons' number during his career and the Pelicans continue to enjoy the fruits of those bountiful offensive performances.
Davis poured in 38 points and the Pelicans collected their 11th victory in 12 games against the Pistons, 118-103, in their first trip to Detroit's new Little Caesars Arena.
Davis is now averaging 30.4 points in 10 career games against the Pistons, his highest average against any team. He set the franchise scoring record with 59 points in 2016 during the Pelicans' visit to the Pistons' former home, The Palace of Auburn Hills.
New Orleans is now 3-5 since DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his left Achilles tendon. It strung together back-to-back wins for the first time since the injury.
"It just takes a little while because he was such a big part of everything we did," Gentry said. "Then we have guys adjusting to new rules. You can't do that in one or two games."
David also grabbed 10 rebounds and was one of three Pelicans to post a double-double. Jrue Holiday supplied 21 points and 12 assists and Nikola Mirotic had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Blake Griffin, playing in his seventh game with Detroit, led his club with 22 points.
The Pelicans (30-26) were statistically dominant in virtual every aspect while finishing off a 2-1 road trip. They had a 54-38 advantage in points in the point. Their bench outscored the Pistons' reserves 43-33. They had a 16-7 edge in fast-break points. They shot 44.0 percent from the field while holding Detroit to 36.8 shooting and made five more 3-pointers.
They made all 16 of their free-throw attempts, though Detroit took twice as many free throws and connected on 24. They also racked up 31 assists.
"We did a great job of moving the basketball," Gentry said. "Any time you get to the 30 assist mark on 44 baskets, that's a really good number."
Gentry started his 11th different lineup this season, inserting 35-year-old center Emeka Okafor in place of Mirotic. Okafor was playing just his third game with the Pelicans since signing a 10-day contract on Feb. 3rd. Okafor's first start since 2013 was matchup-based, as he banged bodies with Detroit center Andre Drummond while Davis shadowed Griffin.
Okafor provided more than just a big body, as he contributed eight points, seven rebounds and a block in 14 minutes.
"It feels good to be back in whatever capacity," he said. "Me being able to start tonight was awesome."
The Pelicans used a 10-0 third-quarter run, capped by a Davis three-point play, to take a 15-point lead. Detroit never threatened from that point.
The Pelicans had their share of bumps and bruises. Darius Miller took an elbow to the face from teammate Cheick Diallo early in the second quarter. He returned later in the quarter.
DeAndre Liggins suffered a left thigh contusion just prior to Miller returning to the court and also required a trip to the trainer's table. He didn't play in the second half.
Liggins took a charge while hobbling around before he departed.
"The kind of a signature of what he's all about," Gentry said. "He gets kneed, goes down, can barely walk and he gets up, gets to the other end of the court and takes a charging foul."