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Recap: Hornets lose to Pistons in LaMelo Ball’s return, 141-134

The Hornets star shined in his return, but the Hornets couldn’t get the stops they needed.

Detroit Pistons v Charlotte Hornets Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images

LaMelo Ball had 23 points and 11 assists in his return to the court, but he fouled out late and the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Detroit Pistons in overtime, 141-134.

Ball announced his return to the court with five quick points during a breakneck open to the game. Ball’s presence brought a noticeable boost to the Hornets movement and effectiveness on offense, and he made plays like this.

Neither team offered much resistance defensively, and most offensive possessions ended with easy looks off one or no passes. The Hornets built up a modest lead, but that quickly evaporated with Ball out of the game. Killian Hayes (12 points) and Kevin Knox (8 points) poured in a late of flurry of buckets for the Pistons, as they normally do, and the score was set at 35-33 in favor of the Pistons after one.

Kelly Oubre had a steal and slam and two 3-pointers to open the second quarter scoring and put the Hornets back ahead. Much like the first quarter, the Hornets built up a modest lead that was wiped away late as the Pistons caught fire. The Hornets trailed 73-69 at the break. They were +11 with Ball on the court and -7 with him off.

The teams played a relatively even third quarter until a 13-3 run in the final minutes put the Pistons up double figures. A Theo Maledon layup cut the deficit from 12 down to 10 heading into the fourth quarter.

Four 3-pointers, two coming from the hands of Ball, quickly erased the deficit and leveled the teams with most of the fourth quarter left to play. Jalen McDaniels tied the game with a three from the top of the key that was set up by a baseline drive and kick by Ball, his 10th assist of the contest. Terry Rozier scored nine straight for the Hornets, and a step back three deep in the corner gave the Hornets their first lead of the first quarter, albeit a brief one. The Pistons scored eight straight, with six coming off Killian Hayes 3-pointers, to take the lead back.

The Hornets were able to pull within one after Mason Plumlee back tapped an offensive rebound to Ball, who threw a laser to Rozier in the corner, who hit a three to bring the Hornets within one. A Jalen Duren free throw after Ball’s sixth foul was answered by a Plumlee tip in to tie the game. Both teams missed potential game winners, and the game went into overtime.

Bojan Bogdanovic and Kelly Oubre traded 3-pointers to start the overtime scoring. After a couple of traded baskets, Killian Hayes hit a tough step back 3-pointer to put the Pistons up four. The Hornets couldn’t answer, and the Pistons used the free throw game to pull away.

Ball’s return was huge boon to the offense, both with his play and the way he enables his teammates to play with freedom and confidence. Kelly Oubre (28), Terry Rozier (25), and Jalen McDaniels (21) all chipped in strong offensive performances. Mason Plumlee had a career high 11 offensive rebounds.

It’s not a good loss for the Hornets against the worst team in the league. They’ll be back in action on Friday against the Hawks.