With Detroit looking to end their current five-game slide, Wednesday night in Charlotte might be the most ideal place to restart their winning ways. The Hornets have had the Pistons’ number over the past couple of seasons, having won three of their last four games against Detroit, but they are not as daunting a foe as Detroit’s most recent opponents (Sixers, Bucks, Thunder) or future competition (Celtics and Bucks).
Charlotte’s currently sitting at 13-13 while Detroit is now 13-12 - the winner of this game will hold the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference .
The Pistons will still be without Ish Smith and may be without Glenn Robinson III, who suffered a left ankle sprain Monday night in Philadelphia, as well. One positive for Detroit, they’ll have Blake Griffin available who sat out Detroit’s last game against Philly. The Pistons also hope to have either Reggie Bullock or Stanley Johnson back - maybe even both.
When: Wednesday, December 12, 7 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Detroit +5.5
Kemba Walker is good at basketball; very good. He’s shooting a career high in true shooting percentage (57.2 percent) and scoring a career-high 25.8 points per game. The Hornets score 6.5 less points per 100 possessions when Walker is off the court, and their win expectancy drops six games sans Walker. He’s the motor that makes this Hornets team go, and should continue to put up gaudy numbers on Wednesday night.
Over Detroit’s last four games, opposing point guards are averaging 25 points, 5.5 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game. Detroit produces top-shelf Swiss Cheese point guard defense, call it the Tête de Moine défense du gardien.
If Detroit is able to find a way to win, they’ll have to limit Walker’s production, or at least make him uncomfortable if (when) the game is tight. Look for Johnson and Bruce Brown Jr. to match up against Walker, once Reggie Jackson is thoroughly torched midway through the first quarter.
If there’s one shining moment that’s come from Detroit’s recent freefall, it’s Luke Kennard’s performance on Monday night. Luke put up a career-high 28 points on 61 percent shooting from the floor and 63 percent from three, and also chipped in eight rebounds and three assists. More Kennard, please, as Detroit is in dire need of help from beyond the arc.
The Pistons rank 28th in team three point shooting, hitting just 31.9 percent of their 33.4 attempts per game. They’re shooting the 10th most threes per game, but their long ball is only accounting for the 15th most points in the league. While they’ve had some solid performances from Langston Galloway, and are expecting Bullock to return soon (and hopefully return to his form from last season), adding a trigger-happy Kennard to the mix could be just what this team needs to get back on track.
Detroit Pistons (13-12):
Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown Jr. , Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Charlotte Hornets (13-13):
Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller
Detroit finds a damn way to win a damn game.
Detroit 104, Charlotte 100
What’s your ideal starting lineup when everyone is finally healthy?