I don’t think you can say this about any other season matchup for the Pistons, but they are looking to win the season series against the Charlotte Hornets. It is even crazier that it is being said about an opponent like the Hornets given how poorly the Pistons have played against the Hornets the last few seasons.
The Pistons are coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Wizards on Tuesday in which they forgot to box out Daniel Gafford and he tipped in a missed Bradley Beal shot for the win. The Pistons played well in that game with a short-handed roster and gave the playoff=hopeful Wizards a bit of a scare.
The Pistons are likely to once again be short-handed in this one as they continue to let their veterans nurse “injuries.”
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Thursday, March 9 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+3.5)
The Hornets’ fortunes have turned around in a bad way since the last matchup between these two teams. The Hornets entered that matchup hot, but lost LaMelo Ball for the season due to a fractured ankle in that game. They have lost 3 of their last 4, although their one win was over the Knicks who were on a 9 game winning streak.
The Hornets will probably not win a ton of games the rest of the season, but they also have a 5 or 6 game cushion on the rest of the tanking teams, including the Pistons, and I don’t see any of those teams winning that many games the rest of the season. They probably won’t even win that many games combined. So, the top 3 of the draft lottery is pretty much locked.
As for this game, if you enjoy watching young players make a lot of mistakes and get a lot of minutes, this is the game for you. The Pistons will be a bit healthier as Killian Hayes and Jalen Duren are both expected to return from their injuries. It doesn’t sound like any of the other injured players will be back, so the Pistons will probably still be without Isaiah Stewart, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Hamidou Diallo.
As mentioned above, the Hornets will be without LaMelo Ball the rest of the season. However, the rest of their roster is healthy and they have a lot of veterans on their roster, so it should be a pretty favorable matchup for the Hornets still. It is already unlikely they catch the Pistons in the tank standings, but a win today pretty much ensures the Hornets will not jump the Pistons in the standings.
A fun matchup that we can finally watch is fellow rookie big men Mark Williams and Jalen Duren. Early on in the season, Williams wasn’t in the Hornets rotation when these teams faced and Duren was out with an injury the last time they faced. I think both teams are happy with the player they drafted, but they will forever be tied together since the Pistons used a first round pick that was originally the Hornets’ to draft Duren.
The Hornets are technically a better defensive team than the Pistons by a small margin on the season, but the Pistons have actually been a near top 10 defensive team since the All Star Break. So this game might not be as high-scoring as initially thought. The Hornets definitely have a bit more offensive firepower, even without Ball, but the Pistons did hold them to only 117 in the last matchup.
I don’t see a way the Pistons win this game, but they barely lost to a nearly fully healthy Wizards team a couple nights ago, so anything could happen.
Charlotte Hornets (21-46): Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, Mark Williams
Detroit Pistons (15-51): Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers, Marvin Bagley III, Jalen Duren
Question of the Day
Do you think the Pistons are a lock for top 3 in the lottery standings?