Hornets Edge Out Pistons In LaMelo’s Return


He’s back, baby! The Charlotte Hornets (31-32) come up big against the Detroit Pistons (19-45) 107-94 at Spectrum Center. It was much of a welcoming rookie guard LaMelo Ball after missing six weeks with a right wrist injury against the Clippers. The Hornets were fiery in the 1st, with Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier carrying the squad in both ends. Ball’s intensive energy was infectious for the team the whole round in the 1st half. It was clear seeing his impact for the whole team to feel rejuvenated again.

It was a run and gun pace for the Hornets as the Pistons weren’t able to stop the quick attacks from the offensive end. However, late in the 3rd, the Pistons got into a groove led by Frank Jackson and Sadiq Bey. The Pistons were close, which cut the lead by seven going into the fourth. Terry Rozier’s 11 points in the fourth were enough for the Hornets to stretch out the lead, causing the victory.

After two mediocre games for Rozier, he played big tonight with 29 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. One of those points includes a 3-point bomb to beat the shot clock in the fourth. Miles Bridges has emerged around the last couple of games for the Hornets. He ended up with 27 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. In LaMelo’s return, he finished with a solid 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Although he looked pretty rusty out there, shooting only 33% from 3, it was cool seeing him back out there having fun again.

Despite the loss, Frank Jackson’s surprise play over the last games has Pistons fans hopeful. After a double-digit scoring game in the last two games, he performed tonight with 25 points in 42% field goal shooting. The prized rookie of the Pistons, Sadiq Bey, also scored 22 points although only a 33% field goal percentage. The Pistons were quite sluggish tonight. It was pretty clear at some points in the game from their lack of maturity and experience on the floor. Without Jerami Grant, the Pistons have a lot of ground to cover in play and leadership on the floor.

Star of the Game

Throughout the game, Terry Rozier’s play on the floor kept the Hornets above waters. Without his streaky shooting, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Pistons ended up with the win instead. He was their go-to guy when the tides got rough in some stretches on the floor. In addition, it was a benefit for Rozier with the return of Ball and Malik Monk, which eases his attention from the opposing. Throughout the league, Rozier has been one of the top scores in the fourth. It says a lot of the 6-year guard on his confidence and maturity at this point in his career. With this team back and loaded, It’s an exciting time to be a Hornets fan with the playoffs within reach.

Biggest Concern

In complete honesty, the Hornets are expected to beat a struggling Detroit Pistons team as we compare both rosters. Although there were lapses within the game, I still need to see a lot from the Hornets against playoff-contending teams to see what are things needed to fix. In this game, though, the Pistons went on to a big run, but I think it all comes down to rotation and how the Hornets can create a plan to maximize the capabilities of its players. If we get out guys back there and running, James Borrego and his coaching staff can evaluate who should play and what players should play with whom. Again, it’s a process, and I hope it gets done in time for what’s next for the team.

Surprise Contribution

The Hornets were outstanding in the defensive end tonight. What was impressive from the stat-line was the 15 blocks the Hornets caused. A third of those blocks is due to Bismack Biyombo‘s interior defense. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t expect he still had some fuel in the tank. It was the overall intangibles that were the surprise contributions. A couple of rebounds, box-outs, and hustle plays were effective in stopping the Pistons in the paint. It made a difference out there with the Hornets’ 56 points in the paint compared to 42 by the Pistons.

This team’s energy was so much better comparing the last two games. On both ends, I guess playing at home feels so much better for this team to perform. Overall, this game felt like a flashback to early February when the Hornets were the surprise of the league.

Next Game

The Hornets will try to keep this groove going against the Miami Heat at Sunday, May 2 5 pm PST.

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