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Pistons vs. Hornets final score: Pistons outplayed and out hustled in second half, lose 118-107

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Detroit was severely allergic to defense much of the game.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in front of a sparse Little Caesars Arena crowd, the Pistons played relatively smart and inspired basketball for about half the game. Then they thought the other team would just fold, which seems to be the thinking of this Detroit team much too often.

The other team didn’t fold. The well-coached and professional bunch known as the Charlotte Hornets — even if they aren’t bursting with an over-abundance of talent — played better and crisper as the game progressed and put on a second half clinic of massive proportions, outscoring the Pistons by 17.

Kemba Walker scored 17 in the half. Dwight Howard was smooth and effective on both ends of the court the whole game, scoring 21 on 12 shots and grabbing 15 rebounds with four blocks. Marvin Williams was left alone beyond the arc much of the game and made the Pistons pay five times in six tries.

Elder statesman Anthony Tolliver wasn’t deterred from the early start time of 12:30, making big shot after big shot and finishing with five made threes in six attempts and a couple of blocks to add to his energized effort that many of his teammates just couldn’t equal.

Andre Drummond was non-existent, scoring just one field goal and making effort probably no more than five times the whole game on the defensive end. However, his teammates didn’t do much to help him out, either.

As for the coaching, whatever Stan Van Gundy is preaching to his players just isn’t getting through. If it hasn’t gotten through by now, then there’s not a lot of hope that it will at some point the rest of the season.

The 22-20 Pistons will play at the 29-13 Toronto Raptors Wednesday. The ship is starting to sink — so will enough of you turn a blind eye and make excuses for this team, its makeup and its coaching and just say they’ll get it right somehow?

Yes, enough of you will.

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