The final score was ugly, and it didn’t even begin to tell the whole story.
The Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons 141-119 and it was never close after the first quarter ended.
Charlotte ran off turnovers, misses, and makes and the Pistons made very little effort to get back on defense. Detroit made it worse by turning the ball over 18 times, including at least three in the backcourt off inbound passes.
When the Hornets did settle for half court offense, it wasn’t much better. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier killed Detroit with dribble penetration and Charlotte took full advantage. They whipped the ball around the horn until they found the right advantage and that ball movement usually ended up in either an open three or paint points. Nearly all of the Hornets’ points came in those two areas or at the charity stripe.
Leading the way was Ball, who scored a game-high 31 points on seven of nine shooting from deep. Rozier added 25 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. And Flint native Miles Bridges did his usual high-flying act to the tune of 25 points.
Detroit’s only answer defensively came in the form of Isaiah Stewart, who was the Pistons’ only deterrent in the paint. Stewart had a couple terrific recovery blocks after guards got beat off the dribble and added 15 points on the other end due to his usual high effort level.
Saddiq Bey led the way offensively for Detroit with 25 points on 16 shots. The Villanova product looked plenty comfortable playing up a position with Jerami Grant remaining. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on as it may inform the Pistons’ decision making in the offseason.
Dwane Casey had to have been happy to see Cade Cunningham back, though the rookie looked understandably rusty. Cunningham scored 12 points on 13 shots and looked to be laboring a bit defensively, though he had a tough matchup against a small Charlotte backcourt.
Killian Hayes played one of his better games of the year, adding a double-double off the bench in the form of 11 points, 12 rebounds, and only a single late turnover. Hayes is looking more and more confident off the bench and has sought his own shot out a little more the past week.
It was another disappointing game from Detroit in their seventh straight loss. Charlotte entered the game with six straight defeats as well but the effort level was the big difference tonight.
With less than 30 games left in the season, the Pistons have to hope to get healthy and find some sort of rhythm to provide clarity entering a critical offseason.
- The athleticism gap was glaring in this one. Hamidou Diallo was really the only Pistons who looked like he belonged, in that regard. You have to think that needs to be a focus this summer.
- Frank Jackson left with a back injury which could put a wrench in the whole getting healthy idea.