KCP’s career-high 38-point performance leads Pistons to win

Feb 1, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) celebrates with forward Marcus Morris (13) and center Aron Baynes (12) after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 118-98 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) celebrates with forward Marcus Morris (13) and center Aron Baynes (12) after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 118-98 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports /

On a night when most of the starters didn’t have it going, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Detroit bench led the Pistons to a much-needed 118-98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

A year ago, it was the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis putting up gaudy numbers at the Palace. On Wednesday night, it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s turn for the Detroit Pistons.

KCP scored a game-high 38 points on 8-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc, eclipsing his previous career high of 31 points while helping the Pistons break a three-game losing streak.

Caldwell-Pope’s offensive explosion was much-needed, to say the least. He outscored the other four Pistons starters 38-32, shooting 67 percent from the floor while the other four combined couldn’t break 40 percent.

Andre Drummond played well with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, but Detroit’s best production came from the bench. Tobias Harris was the team’s second-leading scorer with 19 points, while Stanley Johnson had a great overall game (four points, six assists, five rebounds and a steal) in 25 minutes. Ish Smith played 27 minutes in relief of a largely ineffective Reggie Jackson, notching 15 points and seven assists.

It was a game of runs for both the Pistons and the Pelicans. There were 19 lead changes overall, many of them coming early as Caldwell-Pope and the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis led their teams in a back-and-forth first quarter. Detroit led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but then promptly fell behind by eight in the third.

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But late in the third quarter, KCP and the Pistons’ bench came roaring back. With 4:58 left in the quarter, Stanley Johnson hit an mid-range jumper to cut the deficit to six. The Pistons played excellent defense on Anthony Davis for two possessions in a row, with Tobias Harris and Aron Baynes forcing a turnover leading to a fast break and a Caldwell-Pope floater. KCP then stole an Anthony Davis pass and converted the layup to cut the deficit to two.

A Caldwell-Pope 3-pointer at the end of the quarter gave Detroit a 83-81 lead. The lineup of Ish Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris and Aron Baynes went on to improve that lead, which the Pistons did not relinquish.

Anthony Davis came out hot in the first half with 23 points, but only managed eight in the second half. Jrue Holliday recorded 22 points and 11 assists.

With the win, the Pistons improve to 22-27. The Pelicans fall to 19-31.

Detroit will be back in action Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

D. Reggie Jackson followed Monday night’s late-game gaffs with one of his poorest performances of the season against New Orleans. He scored only six points in 21 minutes, shooting 2-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3-point range. Jackson’s day was done in the third quarter, as Stan Van Gundy rightfully decided to go with the much more effective Ish Smith instead.. PG. Detroit Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

What other grade can you give a guy who scores a career-high 38 points without sacrificing any dominance on the defensive end? KCP’s final line: 38 points (on 12-18 shooting), four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He scored Detroit’s first 11 points, had a scoreless second quarter and then came out on fire in the second half. Without his offense and his disruptive, fast break-spurring defense, Detroit would have lost this game in a blowout. #PayKCP. SG. Detroit Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE. A+

C. Meh. <a rel=. SF. Detroit Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS

D. Double meh. <a rel=. PF. Detroit Pistons. JON LEUER

B. Andre Drummond played his best basketball in the first half, when he and KCP carried the Pistons offense. He finished with 17 points and six assists while playing pretty solid defense against Anthony Davis.. C. Detroit Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND

This was one of Stanley Johnson’s most impressive games of the season. He didn’t blow anyone away with his shooting (2-7, for 4 points), but he notched five rebounds, six assists and a steal while bringing much-needed hustle and defensive energy off the bench. He played a key role in keeping Piston possessions alive in the most pivotal points of the game, showing great discipline and court awareness while playing the passing lanes and crashing the offensive glass. As George Blaha put it, he was physical and smart. (Plus, we got to see a rare Stanley Johnson dunk — only his second of the season.). SF. Detroit Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON. B+

B+. Aron Baynes was another key contributor off the Detroit bench in this win. He shot 4-5 from the field, finishing with 8 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes. He played solid interior defensive on Anthony Davis and brought great energy and physicality that helped propel Detroit to a win.. C. Detroit Pistons. ARON BAYNES

PG. Detroit Pistons. ISH SMITH. B+. Ish Smith played 27 minutes to Reggie Jackson’s 21, scoring 15 points to Jackson’s six. He was simply the better point guard in this matchup, shooting 6-for-7 from the field while contributing seven assists and three rebounds.

PF. Detroit Pistons. TOBIAS HARRIS. B+. Tobias Harris might be a starter in this league, but he sure looks great coming off the bench. Harris scored 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds, dished four assists and added a steal to boot. Harris played a key role in the Pistons’ win tonight.

<a rel=. SG/SF. Detroit Pistons. REGGIE BULLOCK. D

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B+. Kudos to Stan Van Gundy for sensing it wasn’t the night to ride his starters. He was smart to lean on his bench players in the second half, and he also drew up some great out-of-timeout plays throughout the game. It remains a pleasure to watch him stomp and scream up and down the sideline after every Pistons misstep.. Head Coach. Detroit Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY