The Detroit Pistons entered North Carolina with their sights set on breaking a 13-game losing streak that dates back to opening night of the 2017-18 season. Well, after keeping within striking distance of a victory for three quarters, Kelly Oubre Jr. and the hot-shooting Charlotte Hornets would blow out the visiting Detroit Pistons. Oubre Jr’s career-high 8 triples, 7 of which were in the final term, played a major part in the Hornet’s 29 point victory.
The home team came out firing scoring on their first 5 attempts from the field, 3 of which were from distance. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges caused the Pistons defense headaches early with their improved ability to hit the outside shot and dribble penetration to the rim. The Pistons struggled to hit a shot out of the gate but, they were able to keep themselves in the game by forcing turnovers, providing scoring opportunities in transition. At one stage in the first quarter, Detroit were able to force 3 straight turnovers on the defensive end, resulting in a 6-0 run for the visitors.
After committing a myriad of unforced errors, the Hornets would hit back strong. Charlotte’s elite pick and roll play provided shooters with a host of clean looks, resulting in 7 triples on 64% shooting. Saddiq Bey and Cade Cunningham provided the visiting Pistons with 16 of 19 first quarter points as they finished the quarter trailing 19-39.
Detroit opened the 2nd quarter with an anemic bench lineup of Lee, Robinson, McGruder, Jackson & Potter. The Hornets would take advantage of the inexperience, piling on an 11-4 run in quick succession, pushing the lead to a game-high 26 points. Detroit would respond behind the gritty play of Michael Potter and Rodney McGruder. The bench pair scored 13 points between them in the second, helping Detroit stay within striking distance when the game was on the verge of being lost. While Detroit battled, Charlotte’s death of scoring options continued to pile on the points, keeping the margin between 16-20. But, a 5-0 flurry to close the half from Cade Cunningham would help keep the Pistons within striking distance, trailing 51-64:
5-0 run from Cade Cunningham helps keep #Pistons within striking distance vs. Hornets pic.twitter.com/ryHlfcdQsc— Jack Kelly (@jack_kelly_313) January 6, 2022
Killian Hayes came out ready to play in the third, hitting a step-back jumper and above the break triple. Unfortunately, the Hornets also came out ready play. Similar to the first quarter Charlotte couldn’t miss, connecting on their first 6 shots, pushing the lead to 20 points in only a few minutes. Detroit would again provide a response out of a time-out, with Trey Lyes and Hamidou Diallo sparking a 11-4 run to draw the Pistons within 13 points.
Detroits attempt at a comeback would come to a sudden halt at the 3:18 mark of the third quarter, when Cade Cunningham would be called for his fourth personal foul. At this point the Hornets lead 90-75, upon Cunningham’s exit Charlotte would close the quarter on a 10-0 run and a 25-point advantage.
Charlotte wing-reserve, Kelly Oubre Jr., would seal the Pistons fate hitting four consecutive three’s to open the fourth, powering the Hornets to a 30+ point advantage. Oubre Jr. would finish the night with a game-high 32 points, he was supported by a combined 66 points from Ball, Hayward, Rozier and Bridges. While Charlotte have the superior roster talent, Detroit battled hard, but anytime an opponent is able to make 24 threes on 57.1% shooting, the odds aren’t going to be in your favour.
Trey Lyles and Cade Cunningham lead Detroit with 17 and 16 points respectively, Josh Jackson also chipped in with 15 points. After struggling in the first three quarters, it was encouraging to see Jackson get it going in the fourth, albeit in garbage time. Hopefully his play can carry over to tomorrow nights game against the in form Memphis Grizzles.