A showdown between the two teams with the worst records in the NBA occurred on Wednesday night, but the offensive firepower on display said otherwise.
The Pistons and Charlotte Hornets were deadlocked at 127-127 with just one second left in regulation. Terry Rozier nearly drained the game-winning 3-pointer but the ball rimmed out, resulting in the Pistons’ second overtime game of the season.
Alec Burks scored five consecutive points for the Pistons in overtime to give them a 135-134 lead with 2:17 left in the game. Killian Hayes, who drained two clutch 3-pointers toward the end of regulation, answered the call yet again with a step-back triple to give Detroit a four-point cushion with 1:11 left. The Hornets couldn’t make the late-game plays needed to recover, leading to a 141-134 win for the Pistons (8-22).
More:BOX SCORE: Pistons 141, Hornets 134
“It was a good effort,” said Pistons coach Dwane Casey. “We didn’t play perfect basketball. They got 21 more shots than we did. Turnovers were biting us a little bit, but we found a way. For our group right now, finding a way is a step for us in the right direction.”
The Pistons produced their season-high in points (138) and had six different players score in double figures. Before Wednesday, Detroit had not beat Charlotte at home since Oct. 18, 2017 (lost seven straight).
Hayes had an exceptional performance with 25 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. He nailed a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to snap a four-minute scoring drought for the Pistons. Hayes missed a sidestep 3-pointer a couple of plays later, but received another opportunity thanks to an offensive rebounds by Isaiah Stewart. Another chance was all he needed because he calmly knocked down the corner 3-pointer to give the Pistons a five-point lead with one minute and 41 seconds left.
“When you get an overtime win like that, it shows our character,” Hayes said after the game. “It feels good when you’re just having fun on the court and guys are hitting shots. It was a high-scoring game, not what we want defensively, but offensively we had fun. Everybody was smiling. Everybody was excited for one another. Definitely a fun vibe.”
Rozier, who totaled 25 points and five rebounds, connected on another 3-pointer to bring the Hornets within one point with 42 seconds remaining. LaMelo Ball, who finished with 23 points and 11 assists, sent Jalen Duren to the free throw line, who split a pair at the stripe late in regulation.
The Pistons led by as many as 13 points, but they allowed the Hornets climb back into the game early in the fourth quarter. Just when it appeared that the Hornets would take control of the remainder of the game, Isaiah Stewart put together back-to-back dunks to give Detroit a four-point lead with 6:58 left.
Stewart demonstrated an improved ability to score in a variety of ways. He knocked down two of his seven 3-point attempts. When Charlotte ran him off the line, Stewart put the ball on the floor and powered his way to the basket. He finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Burks finished with a team-high 27 points and three assists off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic, coming off a season-high 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers, totaled 24 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Kevin Knox II complimented Burks off the bench and used his skills as a two-way player to impact the game. He finished with 17 points and two blocks.
Jalen Duren dominated the boards and finished with a season-high 19 rebounds to go along with seven points and one block.
Jaden Ivey had a slow start to Wednesday’s game. He began as a facilitator early on as he went the first six minutes of action without a shot attempt. His one assist in the first quarter resulted in a poster dunk for Duren, who threw down a one-handed slam over former Pistons center Mason Plumlee. He finished with 13 points and four assists.
The Pistons scored a season-high 73 points in the first half. They trailed by seven points with 4:46 left in the second quarter, but went on a 20-9 run to close the first half. They went on to score 105 points after three quarters, their most this season.
Marvin Bagley III did not play in the second half due to a sore right knee. He went to the locker room midway through the second quarter and did not return. He finished with four points and three rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
It was the same knee that caused Bagley to miss the first 13 games of the season after he sprained his MCL during the preseason.
Wednesday’s game was the first for the Pistons since Cade Cunningham was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a stress fracture in his left shin, which will require season-ending surgery.
The Pistons will return to Detroit for a Friday night matchup against the Sacramento Kings before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.firstname.lastname@example.org