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Charlotte’s All-Home Back-to-Back Beginning with Pistons

by Sam Perley

  • Charlotte Hornets (30-32) vs. Detroit Pistons (19-44)
  • Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 105-102 on March 11, 2021 in Charlotte

Hornets Start Slow Again in Failed Comeback Attempt Against Celtics

For the second time in as many nights, the Hornets quickly fell behind by 19+ points in the opening half on Wednesday night in Boston and although rallied again to get within one possession, couldn’t quite get over the early hump. Charlotte shot just 33% in the first quarter at TD Garden, allowed Jaylen Brown to bury 20 points in the frame and got outscored in the paint, 22-6. The Hornets have proved they’re certainly capable of battling through adversity this season, but falling behind big right out of the gates takes a lot of energy with little margin of error to fully erase. 

Charlotte Needs to Step Up Its Defensive Rebounding Efforts 

Perhaps the most glaring issue in Wednesday’s loss was the discrepancy on the rebounding front. Charlotte lost the battle on the glass by a whopping 54-33 margin, which included a 19-11 Celtics edge in offensive boards as well (Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams III combined for 12 of them). While Boston scored only nine more second-chance points in the contest (19-10), an already-exhausted Hornets defense was forced to scramble and reset far too many times on the extra possessions. Look for Charlotte to make limiting Detroit – the NBA’s 12th-best offensive rebounding team – to just one shot a huge priority tonight.

Home-Heavy Schedule Awaits Hornets’ Final Two Weeks 

Tonight’s game against the Pistons, who Charlotte will also face again on the road next Tuesday evening, will be the team’s first of its final 10 remaining regular season contests, with seven of the next eight taking place at Spectrum Center. The Hornets are 16-13 at home this year, ranking 10th in the NBA in defensive rating across these 29 outings (109.3). Detroit enters this one riding a six-game road losing streak and owns the NBA’s worst winning percentage away from home at .206 (7-27). Hopefully the friendly confines of Buzz City will give the Hornets as much energy as possible in order to kick off this back-to-back with an important victory. 

Preview Quote

“I’m looking forward to it for sure – just the rest and reset. Get our minds right and come back out ready to play Saturday. We’re good [mentally]. Everybody is dealing with a whole bunch of things going on, so you just got to control what you can control. That’s how we play, how we start the game, how physical we are. We can’t worry about all that other stuff.” – Devonte’ Graham on having two days off following Wednesday’s game in Boston

Final Thoughts 

Entering the final month of the 2020-21 regular season, the Hornets have put themselves in position to hopefully secure a playoff berth or at least a play-in tournament spot over the next couple weeks. Taking care of business against the struggling Pistons who have their eyes currently fixated on the long-term future would be the perfect way for Charlotte to embark on this final 10-game stretch.

Additional Notes

F Jerami Grant (right knee injury management), C Mason Plumlee (rest), G Wayne Ellington (bilateral calf injury management), G Rodney McGruder (right elbow sprain) and G Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee soreness) all sat out Detroit’s home loss to Dallas on Thursday night… The Hornets have won 11 straight games against the Pistons, matching their second-longest win streak against one opponent (won 13 straight vs. Orlando from 2016-18). Four of the five head-to-head meetings since the start of last season have been decided by three-or-fewer points. 

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