The Charlotte Hornets dominated the Detroit Pistons Sunday afternoon. Charlotte never trailed and picked up a 114-98 victory at home, a win that not only gives them their longest winning streak of the season, but also secured a tiebreaker over the Pistons for them should the two teams finish the year with the same record.
The Hornets’ ball movement in the first quarter was excellent—Nicolas Batum had six assists in the first quarter alone, many of which went to Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, the Pistons found a few good shots but the Hornets managed to hold Detroit to 19 points in the first quarter. In the end, A Cody Zeller tip shot at the buzzer gave the Hornets a 13-point lead after the opening period.
In the second quarter, the Hornets’ second unit were able to extend the lead to as much as 25 points. This was in large part because Treveon Graham and Frank Kaminsky hit a bunch of 3-pointers while Cody Zeller held it down on the boards. The bench played maybe their best basketball of the season in the second period. It was a sight to behold.
The Pistons attempted to make a few runs to close the gap with Blake Griffin leading the way, but their plans were repeatedly thwarted. Charlotte’s starters came back and helped to further extend the lead, with Kemba Walker eventually hitting back-to-back triples to get the lead up to 28 points. The Hornets walked into the locker room at the half with a commanding 70-46 lead.
The Pistons made a run early in the third with Andre Drummond snagging a great steal for a breakaway slam that cut the Hornets’ lead to 21. The Hornets’ lead was soon whittled down to just 16 points, but once again the Hornets’ second unit came in and turned the tide a bit. However, some heroics from Kaminsky, Kemba, and Batum stretched the lead back up to 25 by the end of the third.
The Pistons played their best basketball in the third and the Hornets were still able to weather the storm.
The fourth quarter began with Michael Carter-Williams—yes, MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS—hitting 3-pointers. Jeremy Lamb added a couple of triples of his own, too.
Blake Griffin was frustrated the entire game and it culminated in him getting a technical foul for a needless shove that sent Zeller to the ground. The Pistons waved the white flag midway through the fourth quarter after being dominated the entire game.
The Hornets now have their longest winning streak of the season at four games. They need to keep this momentum going as the season begins to come to a close. A playoff berth is still a long distance away but having the tiebreaker over the Pistons will help in their playoff chase.
The Hornets next play on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls. Let’s make it five in a row, boys.