Hornets Overcome More Absences, Grind Out Victory in Detroit
Ball Comes Up Big in 4th Quarter, Charlotte Wins 13th-Straight Meeting with Pistons
Down five rotation players for their one-game trip to Detroit, the Charlotte Hornets got a number of big-time performances from across the board, helping the team secure a critical 102-99 win over the Pistons on Tuesday night.
Rookie LaMelo Ball easily had his best performance since returning last weekend following a six-week absence, putting up a team-high 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in the victory – Charlotte’s 13th in a row against the Pistons. Eleven of Ball’s points came in the fourth quarter, a frame that also included a pair of dimes and both his takeaways as well.
Charlotte led comfortably most of the night, pulling ahead by seven with 3:43 remaining on the game clock. Detroit continued to battle over the next few minutes though, getting to within two following a high-arching Hamidou Diallo three-pointer at the 31-second mark. After a Charlotte turnover, rookie Killian Hayes drew a shooting foul on Bismack Biyombo, sending himself to the line for the potential game-tying shots.
The Hornets challenged the call, which ended up serving as a de facto icing for the young Frenchman, who sank just 1-of-2 free-throw attempts. Charlotte got the inbounds pass to Ball, who burned off five crucial seconds before eventually burying two freebies to push the lead back to three. With no timeouts, the scrambling Pistons failed to connect on their last-second, game-tying three-point attempt.
“We had to stay locked in,” said Ball afterwards. “We were missing a couple players, so we knew it was going to be a tough one. At the end of the day like I said, we stayed locked in and knew we had to get this win. It doesn’t matter who’s gone, the team pretty much stays locked in, so you’ve got to love that. Honestly, we’ve got a lot of positive people on the team.”
Terry Rozier (18 points), Caleb Martin (season-high-tying 17), Brad Wanamaker (season-high 15), Cody Zeller (11) and Jalen McDaniels (10) also scored in double figures, with McDaniels adding a career-high 12 rebounds and three steals for his first NBA double-double. In addition to Gordon Hayward, the Hornets were also without Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington, Miles Bridges and Cody Martin because of various reasons.
Diallo erupted for a career-high 35 points to lead Detroit in the loss, going 14-of-22 from the field in the process. Sekou Doumbouya had 20 points and eight rebounds, while both Frank Jackson (14) and Jahlil Okafor (12) notched double-digit scoring performances off the bench for the host Pistons.
Charlotte shot just 41% and 26% from three (8-of-31), although outscored the Pistons by 11 on the fast break (19-8) and six in the second-chance points department (27-21; 16 offensive rebounds). This victory also matched a 13-game win streak against the Orlando Magic from 2016-18 as the longest ever by the organization against one single opponent.
The Hornets will now kick off a season-long five-game homestand against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, May 6 beginning at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center. Catch all the action on Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.