Detroit Pistons’ comeback falls short in 107-94 loss to Charlotte Hornets

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons threatened a second-half comeback after trailing by 21 points in the third quarter on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina.. 

But ultimately, the trio of Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball and former Michigan State standout Miles Bridges was too much for the shorthanded Pistons to overcome against the Hornets.

The Pistons (19-45) fell to the Hornets on the road, 107-94. Rozier led all scorers with 29 points and seven rebounds, and Bridges added 27 points and seven rebounds. In his first game back after missing 21 with a fractured wrist, Ball scored 11 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds. 

Frank Jackson led the Pistons with 25 points and six 3-pointers, and Saddiq Bey did a bit of everything with 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks, two steals and five 3s. Killian Hayes added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Tyler Cook scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. 

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The Pistons were without Jerami Grant, Wayne Ellington, Cory Joseph, Mason Plumlee, Hamidou Diallo, Dennis Smith Jr. and Rodney McGruder due to injury, as well as Jahlil Okafor. 

Cold shooting hurt the Pistons in the first half, as they shot just 33.3% (15-45) and 20% (4-20) from 3. A pair of free throws by Ball gave the Hornets their 21-point lead midway through the third quarter. 

Detroit answered with a 20-8 run to cut the deficit to nine to end the quarter. The Pistons opened the fourth with a 10-4 run, capped by Jackson’s 3 to make it 83-80 with 9:33 to play.

But Charlotte answered with a game-clinching 13-0 run. Detroit got within seven with 2:08 to play after a Bey 3, but Rozier’s dagger for 3 just 18 seconds later sealed it for Charlotte.

Frank Jackson thrives off of the bench, again

Since mid-March, Jackson has been a revelation for the Pistons. It’s not often that two-way contract players establish themselves as bonafide rotation pieces. It’s even rarer that they become one of the most reliable scorers on the entire roster. 

Jackson has, though, over the past six weeks. From March 15 through Friday, he averaged 11.7 points on 49% shooting and 41.7% shooting from 3. Since April 10, he averaged 14 points a game on 50.5% shooting and 37.5% shooting from 3 in 23.3 minutes per game. If he were playing starter’s minutes, he’d be Detroit’s third-leading scorer in that stretch, behind Jerami Grant and Josh Jackson. 

Before the game, Dwane Casey compared Jackson to another off-the-bench scorer who has won three Sixth Man of the Year awards — Lou Williams. Casey would certainly know, as he coached Williams in Toronto during the 2014-15 season. He added that Jackson is a better defender than Williams. 

“He’s produced every time he’s had the opportunity on the floor,” Casey said. “He’s an excellent scorer, he’s an efficient scorer. As I’ve said the last few weeks, he’s an excellent defender. Guys are going to score on him, but they know they have somebody that’s chasing them, in the right position, playing the tendencies and executing the defensive schemes properly. I’m happy for him. He’s my kind of guy. He’s just worked, scratched and earned everything.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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