The Charlotte Hornets (32-33) clinch a tight-knit victory against the Detroit Pistons (19-47) 102-99 at Little Caesars Arena. At the start, the game was close all through the match as both teams traded baskets in the 1st half. The Hornets in this game played without Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, AND Devonte’ Graham. Therefore, they had to rely on remaining starters Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball to lead the team against a hungry Pistons squad.
A bit of runs here and there in the second half were traded by both teams. But it was ultimately a missed free-throw by Killian Hayes in the fourth that provided a small gap for the Hornets to breathe on. Ultimately, a pair of free throws by Ball brought up the lead by three that seal the deal for the Hornets.
After a sluggish start, Ball was magnificent in the second half. He finished the game with 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists on a 43% shooting split. His backcourt mate, Terry Rozier, had a solid 18 points and six rebounds. It was pretty amazing without the team’s key players to end up with six players in double figures. Despite the team only using nine players, their resilience and stability on the floor were the critical aspects of the victory.
On the contrary, Hamidou Diallo stepped up his plate tonight. He was the go-to guy for this team, especially in the clutch. In the end, he had 35 points and seven rebounds. Also, Sekou Doumbouya was a surprise on the floor with his play in the 1st half. It brought the team to a good start and rallied despite the feisty Hornets team.
Star of the Game
This team’s rookie is something else! LaMelo Ball’s play in the second half was a game-changer for the Hornets. He was a magician by the way he controlled the pace and was the playmaker throughout the match. As the game went on, I was surprised to notice his good defensive instincts. It’s an underrated part of his game that not many people talked about. To note, he leads all rookies with 1.6 steals per game.
With Ball, I would describe him as a free painter with his canvas. At some points, we cant see what he’s doing with the Ball. But at those particular times where he paints something beautiful, it’s a treat for us fans to see his brilliance with the basketball. Not to mention he was that guy in the clutch—eleven of his 23 points he had in the fourth. The Hornets needed every single point from him to get the victory. Indeed, a must-watch player for years to come!
Detroit has to be given all the props for the way they bounced back after a loss from the Hornets a couple of nights ago. From what I observed, they played with a lot more urgency and firepower tonight. Their play tonight goes to show that they can compete with the rest of them. It all comes down to their collective strength as a unit for 82 games in a season. They were fantastic tonight but just short of the victory.
With that being said, the only concern I have for the Hornets team is our missing players. This team is in the fight for the play-in tournament. By the logic, the Hornets would prefer taking up the 8th seed to give them two chances for a playoff spot. It’s going to be grueling and nail-biting to see where the Hornets end up in the standings.
When I found out that many of our players would not suit up tonight, I guessed someone from this team would step up, but I didn’t know who it would be. From the likes of the game, it was Brad Wannamaker that had his night tonight. All around, he stuffed the stat sheet in his play. He had 15 points, four assists, and five rebounds. His veteran presence off the bench provides a spark for the team to have a controlled offensive flow with our started off the bench. I wondered why he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time about the Hornets’ defeat to Miami. As we see in the Hornets’ situation, he is expected to take a lot of the load on both ends.
The Charlotte Hornets will head nearby to take on the Chicago Bulls, May 6 Thursday at 4 pm PST.
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