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The Hornets clamp down in the second half to beat the Pistons on the road 108-101

The Hornets win their fifth-straight game against the playoff-hopeful Detroit Pistons. The Hornets move back up into the 7th-seed thanks to stellar play down the stretch from Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

"It’s a game of runs" is one of the most common cliché phrases thrown around in just about every basketball game, yet it’s one that perfectly sums up not only the Charlotte Hornets game against the Detroit Pistons, but their season as a whole.

The Hornets struggled in the first half, playing miserable defense and allowing the Pistons to hang 62 points in the first two quarters. New point guard Reggie Jackson torched the Hornets in multiple pick and rolls, scoring 21 points in the first half in 15 minutes on 7 of 12 shooting. Mo Williams matched up with him and dared him to shoot, going under multiple pick and rolls, which Jackson willingly used to get open shots.

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford and his coaching staff showed yet again that they aren’t afraid to mix up defensive assignments and get creative on that end of the court. The Hornets weren’t in the locker room for halftime very long, but it seemed the message was clear – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to take Jackson out of the game and the rest of the Hornets just play solid defense.

And that’s exactly what happened in the second half – Jackson went 2-9 the rest of the way and only scored four more points. He was completely smothered by MKG and couldn’t get into the offense at any time, which is a big reason why the Hornets allowed 23 less points in the second half.

I tweeted this out during the game and it’s one of the things that stood out the most during the game.

Al Jefferson was clinical on offense, scoring 24 points in 29 minutes on 10-14 shooting. One of his most important contributions of the night that you won’t find in the box score is getting Pistons star center Andre Drummond in foul trouble early. Drummond picked up three fouls in the first half and never really got into a rhythm as a result, only getting 23 minutes of playing time.

Mo Williams continues his great play since joining the Hornets, scoring 21 points and dishing out nine assists. He provided leadership down the stretch, hitting all eight of his free throws on the night to seal the game. Although he didn’t shoot it the most efficiently, he was incredibly efficient in protecting the ball, ending the game with only one turnover.

Speaking of…

Going back to the "game of runs" cliché, the Hornets ended the game on a 20-6 that featured great play from MKG, Jefferson, and Gerald Henderson. They’ve seemingly found a groove playing together and it has come at an opportune time – they fell out of the 7th-seed yesterday due to wins by the Heat and Pacers. The victory over the Pistons put them back in that 7th spot.

The victory also is part of a Hornets run, with now five straight wins going back to last week. The schedule does have some tough moments ahead – their next five are home against the Wizards, Kings, and Bulls, and then on the road against the Jazz and Clippers. The Hornets need to take a couple of those to hang in with the new-look Heat and surging Pacers.

Up next, the Wizards tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.

Oh, and yeah, Lance is still Lance.