Pistons don’t get off last shot, suffer another gut-wrenching loss at Charlotte
Kent Smith (NBAE/Getty)
Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 102-101 loss to the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center
NO SHOT – If the Pistons could wave a magic wand, they’d have third quarters and Charlotte both disappear. They lost for the second time in 12 days to the Hornets, each time letting a halftime lead evaporate quickly. The cumulative score of the two third quarters at Charlotte this month: 63-38. But they had the ball with a chance to win, trailing by a point, before not getting off a shot on their final possession. Derrick Rose penetrated from right to left across the lane, stopped at the free-throw line extended but passed in mid-air to Luke Kennard along the left baseline instead of shooting. The shot clock expired before Kennard could get off a shot. The Pistons lost the first game at Charlotte on Malik Monk’s 3-pointer at the buzzer and lost a game here last December on Jeremy Lamb’s shot at the buzzer. They’re 1-9 on the road now after winning the season opener at Indiana. The Pistons trailed by six points to start the fourth quarter, but pulled within a point on a Blake Griffin triple with four minutes to play. They were within three with a little more than two minutes left when they got a stop, but a costly backcourt turnover – Terry Rozier picked Andre Drummond’s dribble – led to a Rozier triple that made it a six-point game. Turnovers killed the Pistons in their loss here two weeks ago, committing 21 for 27 Charlotte points. Though they turned it over only nine times for 15 points, Charlotte still won the turnover battle going away by committing just four for seven Pistons points. Griffin finished with 26 in 31 minutes.
SNELL BACK – Tony Snell returned after a four-game absence with a hip injury, but Dwane Casey chose to keep the starting lineup intact and bring Snell off of the bench. That meant Langston Galloway, who extended his career-long streak of double-digit scoring to 14 games, stayed with the starters. When Snell had to beg off early 12 days ago at Charlotte with the injury, Galloway responded by scoring a career-high 32 points, hitting 7 of 11 3-pointers. He earned himself a heavy dose of attention from Charlotte in the game plan for the return match, getting off only nine shots in 29 minutes and this time hitting just 1 of 5 from the 3-point arc. Snell appeared a little rusty, not getting much involved offensively in finishing scoreless in 19 minutes while missing his only two shots. He added three rebounds.
SVI EARNS A SHOT – Tony Snell’s return might have meant someone from the wing core would be dislodged from the rotation, but Dwane Casey kept Svi Mykhailiuk in the mix and went with a full five-man second unit and 10-man rotation. Mykhailiuk was coming off of his best performance with the Pistons when he scored 12 points and played well at both ends in Monday’s win over Orlando. Mykhailiuk hit his first shot, a 3-pointer, soon after entering the game in the first half but didn’t score again, missing his only two other shots, both 3-pointers. He played 13 minutes. One other rotation wrinkle: Casey went with Christian Wood over Thon Maker as the backup center. Wood finished with four points and four rebounds in 10 minutes behind Andre Drummond. He played just three second-half minutes as Drummond played 38 minutes and 21 in the second half. Drummond finished with 14 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists.