Pelicans look to continue playoff push against lowly Pistons

The New Orleans Pelicans have won eight of their last 10 games, putting themselves in position to avoid the Western Conference play-in tournament.They’ll get an optimal opponent against which to try and fatten their record while wrapping up a four-game road trip on Sunday afternoon.Coming off a solid victory at Miami on Friday night, the Pelicans visit the banged-up, floundering Detroit Pistons. Detroit will carry a five-game losing streak into the contest.New Orleans (43-27) has moved into fifth place in the conference standings with the top six teams advancing to the first round of the playoffs. It played the kind of defense needed in the postseason against the Heat, limiting them to 36 percent shooting and outrebounding them 56-34 in a 111-88 triumph.”They were packing the paint and staying in the zone,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And I would have, too.”Pelicans forward Zion Williamson only scored four points but CJ McCollum picked up the scoring slack, firing in 30 points.”We needed CJ’s scoring (Friday),” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He was huge for us. His decision making was huge. He struggled a little bit earlier. We were just pressing. Not having (Brandon Ingram). Not having our normal lineups. Then we settled into the game and started to just make simple plays over and over.”Ingram will miss at least two weeks of action with a bone bruise in his left knee.”We’re going to miss him, 20 points per game, he’s leading our team in assists, so we’re definitely going to miss him,” Green said. “The next guys just have to step up.”Detroit is dealing with even more injuries. The Pistons have ruled out three regulars for the remainder of the regular season. Jalen Duren was a late scratch for Friday’s game against Boston due to back spasms and rotation players Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes were also sidelined by injuries.