Anderson's OT 3-pointers lift Pelicans

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Forward Ryan Anderson is an upstanding citizen, but he's also a cold-blooded shooter with no conscience.
When the New Orleans Pelicans needed a relief jumper -- or two -- in overtime Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, Anderson kept firing, and he delivered.
Anderson overcame a frigid shooting night by hitting two 3-pointers and a two free throws in overtime, leading the Pelicans to a 111-106 victory over the Pistons. New Orleans snapped its three-game home losing streak.
"It was a rough night, but as a shooter that happens all the time," said Anderson, who missed 12 of 16 shots before making his final two 3-pointers in a 1:43 span of overtime. "You've just got to keep taking them. The important ones went down."
Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he almost had to cover his eyes when he saw one of Anderson's 3-point attempts inside the last 30 seconds of regulation barely graze the left side of the rim and fall harmlessly out of bounds.
"I didn't like that because I know he can make that shot," Williams said. "Then he comes back and knocks 'em down like nothing ever happened, and that's his mentality. I don't want to mess with that."
Trailing 96-92 with 2:14 left in regulation, the Pistons (10-13) scored the final four points of regulation to send the game into overtime. Forward Josh Smith scored on a scoop in the lane and hit another left-handed drive on the next possession.
After Anderson's miss from long range, Jennings failed to hit two long jumpers in the final five seconds, sending the game to overtime.
"We had a pick-and-roll for him to come off, and it was either for a 3 or a 2," Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks said. "It wasn't necessarily for a 3, but he kind of fumbled the ball. We got the offensive rebound, threw it out there and missed another wide-open shot, so we live with those shots."
In the overtime, Josh Smith put Detroit up 99-96 with a 3-pointer from the left wing, but Pelicans center Jason Smith answered with an 18-footer. Detroit's final lead of the game, 103-102, came with 1:34 left when forward Greg Monroe, who led all scorers with 28 points, leaked out for dunk after Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday lost the ball off the dribble.
Twenty seconds later, Anderson connected on the biggest shot of the game -- a 3-pointer from the right corner -- that put New Orleans ahead to stay, 105-103.
"I just think it's important that I stay aggressive on this team," said Anderson, who scored 22 points. "Coach has a lot of confidence and 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. When I'm out on the court, that's one of my strengths, shooting the ball and spreading the court. So when I get an open chance, I want to shoot it confidently. You can never give up your confidence on the court."
Monroe said of Anderson, "We lost track of him in overtime. With a guy like that, you can't give him one second to get that shot off. It's tough. We did a good job most of the game, but he hurt us in overtime."
Besides Anderson's late-game heroics, the Pelicans were surprisingly strong inside and on the boards, outrebounding the Pistons 51-43.
Jason Smith had a career-high 16 rebounds and matched his season high with 22 points, and New Orleans small forward Al-Farouq Aminu added 14 rebounds, nine in the first half, plus 11 points.
"(Smith) was fighting (Pistons center Andre) Drummond and Monroe all night long, and he played 40 minutes," Williams said. "Here's a guy doing it on both ends of the floor, has a career night and just didn't give in. Until we get all of our guys back, we've just got to find guys who are going to step up."
One Pelican who did step up was shooting guard Tyreke Evans, who was supposed to be out for two weeks with a severely sprained left ankle. Evans surprised even Williams when he participated in the Wednesday shootaround and then played 24 minutes against Detroit, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first half and finishing with seven rebounds. Evans made two of three foul shots in the final 11 seconds of overtime to ice the victory.
"He came in this morning and said, 'I'm playing,'" Williams said. "That says a lot about not just his toughness but about his willingness to give it up for the team. I don't think many people knew that about him when was out at (Sacramento). You don't play in a game like that -- he's sore -- but you don't play in a game like that after five days unless you really care about your team."
NOTES: Pelicans coach Monty Williams revealed in the midst of reading a laundry list of injuries that PG Jrue Holiday was playing with a chipped bone in his elbow "for about three weeks. He's a tough kid." Asked which elbow, Williams said, "Well, he's only got two." ... The Pelicans used their four-day break to try to get healthy. PF Anthony Davis is out another three to five weeks with a broken finger, but SG Tyreke Evans, who appeared to badly sprain his left ankle Friday, returned to action in the first quarter, not missing a game. ... Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks on Brandon Jennings: "(He) has a chance to be a very, very good point guard in this league. He has to take the next step -- to learn how to defend. That's how you become an elite player, not by having someone else guard your man."

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