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Preview: Hornets looks to get back to .500 at home against the Pistons

Charlotte has a golden opportunity to start a win streak.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What: Detroit Pistons (14-46) at Charlotte Hornets (30-31)

When: 7:00 PM ET

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Tonight’s game is the third and final meeting between Charlotte and Detroit, and the Hornets are licking their lips (or sharpening their stingers?). The Hornets won the first matchup back in January 140-111 then won their second meeting 141-119 about two weeks ago.

We all know the Hornets stumbled into the All-Star break by losing nine of 10 games, but they must have figured things out with some time off because they looked fantastic in their first game back on Friday night by dismantling the Toronto Raptors. Charlotte is now looking to get a mini win streak going against the lowly Pistons. Detroit is just 14-46 and vying with the Orlando Magic for the worst record in the NBA.

Detroit Pistons Overview

Rookie guard Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, has been good thus far averaging about 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game but he shoots just 39% from the floor and 32% from the 3-point line. Veteran guard Cory Joseph stabilizes the backcourt with limited scoring of about nine points per game but he shoots 43% from downtown.

Detroit’s front court is pretty good. Veteran forward Jerami Grant has dealt with injuries this year but is a legitimate 20-point threat on any night and plays good, rangy perimeter defense. Second-year small forward Saddiq Bey has taken a step forward this year and is averaging about 16 points and six rebounds per game, but he shoots a ho-hum 34% from the 3-point line on over seven attempts per game. Second-year center Isaiah Stewart averages about 25 minutes and contributes about eight points and eight rebounds per game.

The Pistons bench consists of serviceable guys like guard Killian Hayes, wing Hamidou Diallo, power forward Marvin Bagley III, and center Kelly Olynyk. The Hornets second unit should more than hold their own against them.

How the Hornets Can Win

Before outlining how the Hornets can win, let’s just state that this is a “must win” game. Charlotte only has 21 games remaining and simply cannot afford to lose to teams like the Pistons from here on out.

All the Hornets need to do to win this game is execute like they did in Friday’s impressive 32-point beatdown of the Toronto Raptors. Charlotte’s roster is deeper and more talented than Detroit’s. For most of the first half of the season the Hornets were smoking on offense and getting cooked on defense. That dynamic has inexplicably reversed over the last several weeks. They need to figure out how to bring out the best of both their offense and defense over extended periods of time.

If the Hornets do that against the Pistons, they should get a much needed victory tonight.

Poll

What’s your prediction for tonight’s game?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Hornets win easy
    (43 votes)
  • 24%
    Hornets win a close one
    (19 votes)
  • 17%
    Pistons win a close one
    (14 votes)
  • 2%
    Pistons win easy
    (2 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now