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Hornets Set to Face Pistons for Second Time in Three Games

by Sam Perley

  • Charlotte Hornets (31-33) at Detroit Pistons (19-45)
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Little Caesars Arena)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 107-94 on May 1, 2021 in Charlotte

Charlotte Needs to Get Back to Playing Physical Basketball

The Hornets hung with the Miami Heat heading into the second half on Sunday night, but things got away from them sooner after when the physicality and disruptiveness got turned up a few notches in the eventual 121-111 loss. Charlotte finished the contest with 15 turnovers leading to 23 points the other way, as the Heat seemingly capitalized on just about every single mistake committed by the hosts. The reigning Eastern Conference champions clearly held the upper hand in the playoff-like atmosphere, something the Hornets will need to adjust to quickly with just eight games remaining.  

Rebuilding Pistons Squad Still Playing with A Purpose

Highlighted by leading scorer Jerami Grant, Detroit sat out eight players in last Saturday’s 107-94 road loss to the Hornets. Third-year reserve guard Frank Jackson rose to the occasion, finishing with 25 points (tied for the second most in his career), while rookies Saddiq Bey (22 points) and Killian Hayes (10 points, six rebounds and six assists) also played well. Most of Detroit’s veterans sat out again on Monday against Orlando with Saturday serving as a clear sign that the Hornets can’t overlook these young Pistons players who have something to prove. 

Keep Turning Blocks and Steals into Easy Transition Opportunities  

One area in the physicality department that the Hornets simply dominated last Saturday night was in the rim protection game. Charlotte racked up 15 blocks in the victory – one shy of matching the single-game franchise record – and also turned 13 Pistons turnovers into 21 points. Coach Borrego pinpointed an “urgency” to go make plays at the rim with steals and live-ball takeaways serving as a catalyst for the team’s more desirable offensive approach. Look for Bismack Biyombo and PJ Washington in particular to step up again tonight in this area. 

Preview Quote

“We got eight more games to go. So, any type of playoff look or feel is going to be great for our team right now, whether we come out and win or lose. We got to get in that mindset in being ready and knowing that it’s going to be really physical, but we still just got to be only worried about right now. We can’t worry about the playoffs yet. We got to take care of Detroit at Detroit on Tuesday.” – Terry Rozier

Final Thoughts  

While Sunday night’s loss to a tough Miami team felt like a jolt of sorts, it could certainly also serve as a minor wakeup call for the Hornets as they enter the final two weeks of the regular season. Every game moving forward needs to be treated in a playoff-like manner, with urgency and aggressive play at the forefront for Charlotte tonight against a hungry young Pistons squad. 

Additional Notes  

F Jerami Grant, C Mason Plumlee, G Wayne Ellington, G Cory Joseph, G Rodney McGruder, C Jahlil Okafor, and G Dennis Smith Jr. all missed Detroit’s game on Monday night with injuries. G Hamidou Diallo (right knee soreness) was questionable heading into the contest… Detroit is 3-11 on the second leg of back-to-backs this season… The Hornets have not lost to the Pistons since Oct. 18, 2017. A win tonight would match the franchise’s longest winning streak ever against the same opponent (13 straight vs. Orlando from 2016-18).

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