The Detroit Pistons lost to the Charlotte Hornets by 20 points, 104-84. It was the Pistons' fourth-worst shooting performance of the season (based on True Shooting Percentage). However, they have already won a game when shooting worse than Monday night. Instead, the loss on Monday can be attributed to
bad reffing too many untimely fouls.
Considering it was the second night of a back-to-back, the Pistons first-quarter stat line of 7-for-21 for 20 points and outrebounding the Hornets is somewhat acceptable despite being down by eight points. The worst part of the first quarter were the five turnovers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting called for two fouls: both while fighting over screens to chase the recently red-hot Nicolas Batum.
The Pistons showed signs of hope in the second quarter by nearly doubling their makes from the first quarter (13-for-21) and only lost the quarter by three points. However, the fouls started to weigh on the game. The Pistons were outrebounded 15 to seven in the quarter with Andre Drummond limited in minutes due to picking up two fouls (both in the act of shooting), giving him three in the half. Reggie Jackson was also limited in minutes as he also picked up two more fouls (both shooting, in less than 30 seconds), giving him three in the half as well.
Knowing Stan Van Gundy, Greg Kelser and George Blaha made comments that they would not like to be in that locker room during half time. Unfortunately, the Pistons third quarters have been their worst quarters (on average) of the season so far. So I'm not sure what Van Gundy is doing in the locker room during halftime. Might be something like this without the result. And it continued Monday.
Within 4:54 of the third quarter, Andre had already picked up two more fouls, giving him five on the game. Again, both of them were shooting fouls. Drummond would not play again until 7:11 left in the game when the Pistons were already down 95-75. His 24 minutes on the game would match his season low.
Both teams had 20 fouls on the game. However, the Hornets shot 35 free throws to the Pistons 22. Including last night, the Pistons are fifth in the league in allowing the fewest free-throw attempts per game. In third place are the Hornets. Fifteen of the Pistons 20 fouls were shooting fouls. The Hornets had 13 shooting fouls. Four of the Pistons other five fouls were in the penalty. That means that on only one foul by the Pistons, did the Hornets not shoot any foul shots.
Now, the Pistons lost by 20 but only "lost" 14 of those points at the foul line (where the Pistons shot a horrid 10-for-22, their second-worst percentage of the season). However, by Drummond getting called for five fouls only five minutes into the second half, the Pistons were not able to use the advantage their starting lineup has had in most of their games. Drummond finished 4-for-7 from the field and 1-for-4 from the free throw line for nine points. He also pulled down nine rebounds. Had he played his normal 34 minutes, he likely could have gotten close to his averages. But playing less than five minutes in both the second and third quarters likely threw him off of his game.
Also with Drummond out a good portion of the game, the Hornets outscored the Pistons by 12 points in the paint. Shore up the free throw difference and/or the points in the paint difference and there could be a different outcome to this game. However, that won't happen when your starting center is in foul trouble and every time a Pistons touches an opponent, they get a few shots at the charity stripe. And that's what this game was, charity to the Hornets.