Greivis Vasquez, who had 25 points and nine assists, broke down the defense repeatedly off the dribble. Pistons big men were neutralized because they were forced to become help defenders by the inability of their perimeter teammates to restrict penetration.
And getting caught defensively by screens virtually was epidemic.

"We were Velcro many times tonight, running into chests and not fighting through," Frank said.

The Pistons got back in the game after their five-point deficit through three quarters but couldn't get a defensive stop or an officials' call down the stretch.

A contested ball on a missed free throw by Eric Gordon, with both Monroe and Robin Lopez in pursuit, went to New Orleans.

A Ryan Anderson drive to make it 96-93 might have been called a charge -- Stuckey appeared set and was not in the restricted area -- but the whistle never blew.

A quick whistle on a ball Stuckey ripped away from Al-Farouq Aminu a split-second late resulted in a no-hope jump ball.

And when the Pistons did get a chance at a meaningful final possession, they messed it up gloriously, with Stuckey going to the wrong side of the floor and ultimately forcing a contested 3-pointer with the Pistons trailing 98-95.

The play followed a timeout with 12.2 seconds left and was designed to go to Monroe for a quick two, not the 3-pointer Stuckey ended up hoisting.

"It was a mix-up," Monroe said. "You've just got to keep your focus at that point of the game. We had our chance to get a good shot, a lot of time on the clock, so the focus has got to be there. It was a mix-up and that's just unacceptable at that point in the game."