Keys to Beat the Pistons - 03/31/15
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
These games can be seen on FOX SportSouth and can be heard on WFNZ or the Official Charlotte Hornets app.
Key Matchup vs. Pistons: Al Jefferson vs. Andre Drummond
Charlotte’s showdown with the Pistons on Wednesday night will feature a battle between two of the NBA’s best big men in Al Jefferson and Andre Drummond as they go against each other without their respective starting power forwards alongside them as both Cody Zeller and Greg Monroe are questionable to play… Jefferson has been hampered by a sore right knee in recent weeks which has limited his ability to play effectively and stay on the court for the Hornets in recent games… When he's on his game, Jefferson is capable of performances like the 31 points and 10 rebounds he posted against Washington on Mar. 27 and when the knee is bothering him there could be nights where he manages only three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field and five rebounds in 20 minutes like he did against the Chicago Bulls on Mar. 23… With the playoffs on the line, Charlotte needs every ounce of a healthy Jefferson available especially when he squares off against one of the league’s rising centers in Detroit’s Andre Drummond… Drummond is on a tear in his third season out of Connecticut with career highs in points (13.5), rebounds (13.3) and blocks (1.81) although is shooting a career-low 50.8% from the field… With the absence of Monroe, Drummond has taken his already strong play to another level with 20.2 points and 14.4 rebounds over his last five games and has truly developed into one of the best post players in the NBA, especially on the defensive side… Not only will Jefferson have to play effectively against Detroit, he will also have to put up a great performance against a red-hot Andre Drummond if Charlotte hopes to knock off the Pistons and keep its postseason hopes alive.
Scouting the Hornets (31-42)
The Hornets evened the season series at one game apiece with a 108-101 victory against the Pistons on Mar. 8 in Detroit… Charlotte used a 22-4 run in the fourth quarter to come back and stun the Pistons for its season-high-tying fifth consecutive win… Al Jefferson posted 24 points and eight rebounds while Mo Williams (21), Gerald Henderson (13), Cody Zeller (11) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10) also scored in double figures for the visiting Hornets… Williams and Henderson also each dished out a team-high nine assists, which for Henderson matched his career best at the time… The Hornets have lost seven of their last nine games and currently sit 11th in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte is 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot… Kemba Walker has scored in double figures in eight of his last 11 games and is averaging 15.3 points and 5.5 assists over this stretch… Al Jefferson has scored in double figures in 22 of his last 27 games and recorded back-to-back double-doubles on Mar. 25 and Mar. 27 against Brooklyn and Washington, respectively…Gerald Henderson has posted double-digit scoring performances in 17 of his last 19 games and is also shooting a career-high 86.3% from the free-throw line. Henderson notched his second double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds against Washington on Mar. 27… Mo Williams is averaging 21.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists over his last three games for Charlotte. Since debuting for the Hornets on Feb. 21, Williams has notched at least 3-pointer in all 21 games he has played with the team… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 11.1 points and 8.2 rebounds through 15 games in the month of March. Kidd-Gilchrist will not play against Detroit on Apr. 1 and is expected to be sidelined 7-10 days after spraining his ankle against Washington on Mar. 28… Marvin Williams is averaging 9.8 points on 45.9% shooting from the field and 6.4 rebounds over his last five games. Williams has started 10 of Charlotte’s last 11 games with Cody Zeller sidelined because of a shoulder sprain he suffered against Washington on Mar. 9… The Hornets are ranked seventh overall in the NBA in points allowed (97.4), ninth in rebounding (44.3) and 26th in both points scored (95.1) and assists (20.6)… The Hornets and Pistons will meet for the season finale on Apr. 12 in Detroit.
Scouting the Pistons (28-45)
The Pistons couldn’t hold off the charging Hornets late in the game as they fell, 108-101, on Mar. 8 in Detroit… Reggie Jackson finished with a team-high 25 points, 21 of which came in the first half, along with seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists to lead the Pistons in the loss… Greg Monroe notched 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds for his 31st double-double of the season… Andre Drummond (16), Jodie Meeks (13) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11) also finished in double figures for Detroit… The Pistons have won four of their last five games heading into a home showdown with the Atlanta Hawks on Mar. 31… Andre Drummond is averaging a career-high-tying 13.5 points and a career-high in both rebounding (13.3) and blocks (1.81), which rank second and 10th overall in the NBA, respectively. Drummond is also tied for third in the league in double-doubles (41)… Greg Monroe is tied for eighth in the NBA in rebounding (10.4) and is ranked 12th in double-doubles (33). Monroe also leads the Pistons with a career-high-tying 16.0 points but has not played since Mar. 14 (knee) and is considered questionable to play against Charlotte on Apr. 1… Drummond and Monroe are the only teammates in the NBA both ranked in the top 10 in rebounding… Reggie Jackson is averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 assists in 18 games with Detroit this season after averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 assists in 50 games as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this season… Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is putting up a career-high 12.7 points this season but is averaging 18.7 points on 44.3% shooting from the field in seven games since the Pistons lost Greg Monroe on Mar. 14… Jodie Meeks has scored in double figures in four of his last five games and is ranked second in the NBA in free-throw percentage (90.3%)… The Pistons are ranked fourth in the NBA in rebounding (45.2), 15th in points allowed (99.7) and 19th in points scored (98.4)… Hornets coach Steve Clifford was an assistant under Stan Van Gundy when he was head coach of the Orlando Magic from 2007-12… Caron Butler and Mo Williams were teammates on the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2011-12 season… Jodie Meeks played under Steve Clifford when he was an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2012-13… Anthony Tolliver played in Charlotte during 2013-14 season… John Lucas III played with Marvin Williams on the Utah Jazz during the 2013-14 season… Cartier Martin played for Charlotte during the 2008-09 season.