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Hornets blow out the Pistons in important playoff race game, 102-78

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The Hornets came out swinging thanks to good play on the defensive end and from their starters, eventually blowing out the lead in the final minutes to 20-plus over the Pistons.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

In an important game in regards to getting the 8th seed of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Hornets came out swinging right away. The starters – Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Jeff Taylor, Marvin Williams, and Al Jefferson – played with intensity from the jump, especially on the defensive end. Al Jefferson, not known for his rim protection prowess, ended up with four blocked shots on the night. Bismack Biyombo also added in a couple highlight ones as well, as usual.

The Hornets definitely played well, but the Pistons also shot very poorly, even when open. The Pistons shot 31-88 (35.2%) from the field and only hit five of their 22 3-point attempts. New point guard Reggie Jackson particularly struggled, only hitting three of his 16 shots in 29 minutes of action. He finished with nine points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, but could never get it going offensively, which was pretty emblematic of the entire Detroit team tonight.

Kemba Walker looked great in the first half, scoring all of his 17 points in that time. Overall, six Hornets ended up in double figures – Walker, Marvin Williams, Mo Williams, P.J. Hairston, Henderson, and Jefferson. Marvin led all Hornets with an impressive plus-minus of plus-24 on the game in only 25 minutes of action.

The Hornets shot the ball well from the 3-point line, going 9 of 22 (40.9%) on the evening, and more importantly, had six different Hornets hit a 3. Spacing has been the biggest problem for the Hornets offense all year long, and having multiple threats on the perimeter tonight worked wonders for their offense. It’s too late for that to bring any tangible fruit this year, but having players getting shooting confidence, especially Kemba, is always a good thing finishing the year.

The win tonight keeps the Hornets right there close to the 8th spot in the East, along with the Nets, Celtics, and Pacers. The win over the Pistons tonight probably eliminates them from the picture. The Hornets aren’t out of the race, though the fanbase is admittedly split on what they want for the Hornets – a playoff series against the Hawks or a better draft pick in this summer’s NBA Draft?

All of that will certainly be decided soon and the Hornets next game – Friday on the road in Indiana – will go a long way to determining what the Hornets ultimate fate will be. The Hornets have been very up and down all year, but perhaps tonight’s high upswing will propel them to finish out the last two weeks’ worth of games strongly and grab a playoff spot.