Hornets Going for 10th-Straight Win Over Pistons

by Sam Perley

One last two-game road trip awaits the Charlotte Hornets before the NBA All-Star Break as they travel north to face the Detroit Pistons beginning tonight at 7 PM EST at Little Caesars Arena

Charlotte is coming off a 116-100 home loss to Dallas on Saturday evening, an outing in which it trailed by 31 points. Hours earlier, veterans Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were placed on waivers, another clear sign of the organization’s youth-driven direction. The recent loss of leadership aside, Coach Borrego was adamant about how important each game moving forward is as the second half of the schedule unfolds.

“This is a critical 30 games for us moving forward, 30 games of high-level experience and evaluation and we’re going to do that,” he said. “We’re going to get creative and there’s going to be a lot of young guys moving through the rotation and figuring it out and it will be a great challenge for all of us. We are going to move forward and evaluate and have some great experience for these young guys, but we have to do it the right way and play the right way.”

The Hornets have won nine straight against the Pistons and the three meetings this season have been decided by a grand total of just seven points. Charlotte rallied from 10 down midway through the fourth to claim a 110-107 victory in Detroit on Nov. 29, hitting 19-of-38 three-pointers in the process (50.0%). PJ Washington led the visitors with 26 points and four steals and Derrick Rose had 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting off the bench for the hosts.

With Andre Drummond now in Cleveland and Blake Griffin done for the year, the Pistons have turned their frontcourt over to Christian Wood, Thon Maker and rookie Sekou Doumbouya. Wood is averaging an impressive 18.6 PPG on 53.0% shooting (45.5% from three), 8.0 RPG and 1.2 SPG over his last five outings (two starts) and veteran guard Reggie Jackson is currently riding a three-game streak of 20+ points (24.3 PPG and 7.0 APG).

Detroit has dropped nine of 12 outings, ranking 25th in the NBA in net rating (-4.9) during this stretch, although is fifth overall this season in three-point percentage (37.1%). The Hornets are conceding an average of 15.4 threes on 39.7% shooting over their last five games (all losses), so guarding the line will be imperative if they want to christen the trip with a much-needed win.

Game Notes: Detroit G Luke Kennard (bilateral knee patella tendonitis) has not played since Dec. 23. Svi Mykhailiuk (right hip strain) and Derrick Rose (left hip adductor strain) have each missed the last four games… Charlotte has not lost to Detroit since a 102-90 road defeat on Oct. 18, 2017.

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