Charlotte visits Detroit for a crucial Eastern Conference matchup
POSTED: Mar 25, 2016 9:44 AM ET
Detroit has done a solid job of late in keeping Kemba Walker under wraps.
Every game matters with just three weeks to go in the regular season. The Hornets have surged up the standings over the last couple weeks and enter tonight's game tied with the Miami Heat for the No. 5 seed. The Hornets have a 3 game lead over the No. 7 seed Indiana Pacers and trail the No. 3 seed Hawks by just half a game. The Pistons got a little more of a cushion in the No. 8 seed thanks to the Chicago Bulls' loss on the road to the New York Knicks. The Hornets and Pistons will come out extremely motivated with so few games in between the No. 3 and No. 9 seeds in the Eastern Conference.
There's a reason the Hornets have surged up the standings over the last two months. The Spurs (21-3) and the Warriors (21-3) are the only teams to have a better record than the Hornets (19-5) since January 31. Charlotte has the third best defensive rating and the ninth best offensive rating during this span. Since the beginning of March, the Hornets have the fourth best offensive rating, which they displayed in the final three quarters of their big win over the Spurs on Monday. They're led by Kemba Walker, who has been unbelievable since the beginning of March with averages of 22.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting, 5.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 36.1 minutes.
Detroit has won four straight -- which matches their longest win streak of 2015-16 -- and is in the midst of a season-altering nine-game home stand. The Pistons haven't made the playoffs since 2009, but are making the most of this home stand as they're 4-1 on it so far. Much like those Pistons teams of days gone by, Detroit has been effective in locking down the opposition's top scorer. In his last three games against Detroit, Charlotte's Kemba Walker has been held to 12.3 points on 8-for-31 shooting. Detroit's offense has been great of late, too, as it is averaging 110 points, shooting 47.9 percent and 42 percent on 3-pointers over its last four games.
Lin Drops 29 Points
Jeremy Lin goes off for 29 points to lead the Hornets over the Spurs.
Jeremy Lin has been on a tear off the bench for the Hornets over the last week with averages of 22.0 points on 62.5 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 28.7 minutes over his last three games. He was critical to the Hornets' comeback over the Spurs on Monday, finishing with 29 points on 11-for-18 shooting with seven rebounds. After the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Lin, "He was spectacular. We couldn't stop him all night. He was wonderful." Will Lin be able to continue his "wonderful" play against the Pistons tonight?
NBA.com staff reports