If you look at the standings, the result of today’s game should be easily to predict. One team has 11 fewer wins and is second from the bottom in the whole NBA, the other stands firmly in the playoffs picture. Yet the first team has showed multiple times that it is much better than its record. And the second is wearing down as the season winds down, due to more serious injuries. So the result is an open question.
Detroit Pistons fans, who are really enjoying the competitive way their rebuilding franchise is playing, wouldn’t mind more Hornets losses. Detroit owns Charlotte’s second round pick, meaning tonight’s game might be a bittersweet result, as a win would complicate Detroit’s chances for high lottery pick in the first round and a loss makes their second round pick worse as well.
When: Saturday, May 1, 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Det +7.0
Earlier this week, the Detroit Pistons hosted the similarly depleted Atlanta Hawks club and ran them out of the gym with all-youth squad finishing the game. The Pistons youth again played the main role on Thursday when the team matched up at home with Dallas Mavericks. This time it was all-youth game and the youngsters, led by Isaiah Stewart who set his career high with 20 points, make it very competitive until the last minute. Now, with all the wind in the sails of their younglings, Motor City will visit struggling Buzz City.
For about a month, Hornets are playing without two of their starters, Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball, plus key bench scorer, Malik Monk. And it took its toll on them, as the club lost eight of its last 11 games. Ball and Monk are slowly starting to practice, Hayward isn’t even there yet. And it took all of them plus some contribution from all other rotation pieces for Charlotte to escape with a narrow win at home in March when both teams met for the first time this season.
With those three out, Detroit will have most work to do with the backcourt duo of Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier. Both are crucial contributors to Charlotte’s high position in the NBA in three-point shooting. Since the injury bug hit, Hornets have become even more dependent on long balls, so the perimeter should be a crucial battleground tonight as Pistons are elite in denying three-point attempts.
But Detroit might also be given some business from Charlotte’s strong forwards, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington, who produced a lot of damage inside in the first meeting. Motown isn’t good in clearing its own glass, so it’ll need to be particularly alerted there as the hosts are quite good on offensive board. And one more interesting thing to see will be who will give up: Pistons as an elite team in drawing fouls or Hornets as an elite team in not fouling.
Winning those battles might be a challenge for Motor City youth alone. But if veterans will join their ranks tonight the result might be another easy W.
Detroit Pistons (19-44):
Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Sekou Doumbouya, Isaiah Stewart
Charlotte Hornets (30-32):
Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, Cody Martin, P.J. Washington, Cody Zeller