In what has become a trend, the Hornets started the game slowly. They fell behind 18-9, but jumped back into the game with a bevy of and-1’s. Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb made 3-pointers while getting fouled and Frank Kaminsky and Dwayne Bacon converted layups. After one, the Hornets led 32-27.
There was a slight scare when Kemba Walker went to the locker room in between quarters, but it was a minor issue and he returned for his regular rotation minutes. The Hornets added two points to their lead by the time the captain re-entered the game, and they took off when he checked in. With seven points from Walker and a couple nifty assists from Miles Bridges, the Hornets suddenly found themselves up 17 points. It forced Dwane Casey to take a timeout and brought out the boo birds in Detroit. Bridges and Dwayne Bacon each made a layup to put the Hornets up by a whopping 23 points. The Pistons scored the final five points of the half to make the score 60-42 going into intermission.
The Hornets did not start the second half with the energy they had in the first. The offense was stagnant and they struggled to defend without fouling. Bismack Biyombo kept several offensive possessions alive with his aggression on the boards, and it help offset some otherwise ugly offense. After the initial surge from the Pistons, the teams traded baskets for most of the rest of the quarter. Frank Kaminsky scored seven points late in the quarter, but the Pistons offset that with a run to cut the lead down to eight heading into the fourth quarter.
James Borrego tried to steal some rest for Kemba to start the fourth quarter, but the bench unit wouldn’t let him do it. The Hornets missed their first four shots of the fourth, which let the Pistons cut their lead down to three. The Pistons scored another bucket before Kaminsky finally lifted the lid off the Hornets basket with a baby hook. He hit a 3-pointer about two-and-a-half minutes later, which were the Hornets only five points through the first six minutes and four seconds of the final quarter. Luke Kennard hit a jumper to pull the Pistons within two with just over five minutes to go, but they wouldn’t get any closer. The Hornets exploded down the stretch with a 16-5 run. Kaminsky and Walker hit 3-pointers while Lamb attacked the basket, but the dagger came thanks to a pair of young guys.
Blake Griffin was backing Walker into the paint. Bridges sensed the mismatch, and rushed Griffin to force the pass. He deflected the pass and recovered the steal to ignite a fast break. He capped the break with a lob to Dwayne Bacon, who threw it down to put the Hornets up 12 with under two minutes to play. The good guys cruised to victory from there.
Frank Kaminsky set a season high in scoring for the third straight game. Eight of his 24 points came in the fourth quarter when the Hornets were in desperate need of offense. Lamb came up clutch again, scoring seven of his 17 points during the Hornets game-sealing run. Dwayne Bacon scored 14 points and Miles Bridges stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.
With the exception of the third quarter, the Hornets played with fantastic energy and focus. They held the Pistons under 40% shooting and really mucked up their offense.
This win keeps the Hornets playoff hopes alive for another day. They need to win each of their last two to sneak in, starting with a road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.