Miles Bridges opened the scoring with a straight on 3-pointer. The starters were playing without Terry Rozier, but it didn’t affect their pace or energy. The Hornets didn’t get shots to fall right away, but they generated good looks and played cohesive offensive basketball. Nine Hornets scored ten total buckets in the opening quarter, and nine of those came off assists.
Malik Monk dazzled in his first stint on the floor. In his first ten minutes, he dished six assists to go along with six points. The team was +13 in those minutes.
The Hornets extended their lead to 11 points in early in the second quarter by getting into the paint at will and either finishing or getting to the free throw line, but the lead was short lived as the Pistons responded with their own run. Malik Monk re-entered the game and picked up right where he left off, draining a 3-pointer and finding Cody Zeller for his seventh assist of the night. PJ Washington got a couple buckets to enter double figures, a mark he reached in every preseason game. With all the good on the offensive end, the Hornets struggled to get stops defensively. An open corner three from Tony Snell at the buzzer gave the Pistons a three point lead going into the halftime intermission.
The Hornets turned it over on their first two possessions of the second half, but found their offensive footing after that. Devonte’ Graham got a few buckets after a quiet first half. Cody Zeller hit an open 3-pointer when Andre Drummond didn’t come out to contest. Malik Monk checked in and quickly hit a tough left handed layup and a 3-pointer. The Hornets defense again wasn’t particularly great in the quarter, and they really struggled to keep the Pistons offensive glass. However there were still encouraging signs on offense.
The offense dried up in the fourth quarter—the Hornets only scored five points in the first five minutes of the quarter. The Pistons did not suffer from such struggles and slowly built their lead out to double figures. The Hornets elected to play the game’s final minutes with the two-way players and guys on training camp deals. The game looked out of reach, but the reserves went on a blistering 13-0 run in two minutes in ten seconds to pull within three with just under 40 seconds to play. Unfortunately that was as close as it would get. Ahmed Hill bricked an open three to tie the game and then Robert Franks wrongly chose to intentionally foul after the Pistons secured the rebound. A couple Pistons free throws iced the game and set the final margin.
Even in the loss, there was a lot to like about tonight’s game. Malik Monk looked like the player the Hornets thought they were getting when they drafted him. PJ Washington put in another very strong performance. Devonte’ Graham looked confident with the ball in his hands. Caleb Martin and Kobi Simmons looked deserving of roster spots.
With that, the preseason is done. The Hornets start the regular season against the Chicago Bulls next Wednesday.