Detroit Pistons Complete Season Sweep of Charlotte Hornets with 114-97 Win

Six Detroit Pistons scored in double figures, as Jalen Duren and Cade Cunningham led the Pistons past the shorthanded Charlotte Hornets for a 114-97 win Monday night at Little Caesars Arena to complete a 3-0 season sweep.

Cunningham played a well-rounded game, leading the team in scoring and assists, notching 22 points and a game-high eight assists to go along with six rebounds, while Duren tallied 20 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to round out a double-double.

After heading into the fourth quarter with a 19-point lead, the Hornets were able to bring it to as close as a seven-point game after Flint native and Michigan State alum Miles Bridges knocked down back-to-back threes to make it a 98-91 game in favor of the Pistons with 4:58 remaining in the contest. But Cunningham, after going more than 15 minutes without making a shot, scored six points over a one-minute span to stretch the home team’s lead to a comfortable double-digit margin.

Cunningham had the hot hand for the Pistons to open the game, repeatedly taking his defender off the dribble and getting to the rim with ease before later cooling off. In 10 minutes, he had 12 points and three assists, and made 5-of-8 first-quarter shots, leading the Pistons to a 34-23 lead after one quarter.

The Hornets played an inconsistent quarter of basketball, shooting roughly 44 percent from the field with no offensive direction to start the game, while the Pistons shot 57 percent in the first. Charlotte’s offensive issues were partly due to the absence of their All-Star guard LaMelo Ball, who didn’t suit up for the game due to a right ankle injury. Bridges netted three first-quarter buckets for the visiting team.

It was a different story in the second quarter. After the Pistons charged ahead 48-31, the Hornets used a 15-0 run midway through the quarter to pull within 2, 48-46. Cunningham, despite not scoring in the second quarter, broke the streak by assisting on back-to-back baskets – the first on a three pointer by Simone Fontecchio, and the second on a layup from Isaiah Stewart. The buckets allowed the Pistons to take a 53-46 lead into the locker room.

In the first half, Detroit managed to shoot 46 percent from the field, but just 26 percent from three, while the Hornets shot 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc. Miller led Charlotte with 13 first-half points, while every starter scored at least six first-half points for the Hornets.

The Pistons second-quarter lulls didn’t carry over into the third, though, as the squad opened the second half on a 7-0 run to go ahead 60-48. The run included baskets by Jaden Ivey, Stewart and Duren. Fontecchio would later add a pair of buckets to stretch the Pistons’ lead to 18, 68-50, with eight minutes remaining in the third. The teams exchanged baskets throughout the remainder of the quarter, as the Pistons ended it with an 86-67 lead.

Overall, the Pistons’ defense was able to hold the Hornets to 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 32.5 percent from three. Conversely, the Pistons shot 47.7 percent from the field, despite a lackluster 10-of-42 (23.8 percent) from behind the arc.

After the game, Pistons Head Coach Monty Williams said

I thought in that second quarter, in that mid-to-end, our energy just went down for whatever reason…. It was pretty good in the first quarter, (we) started good in the second quarter, and then it just waned,” he said. “I thought the guys did a good job at sustaining fundamentals (coming out in the third quarter. The defensive energy allowed us to get out and run and get that 15-4 run in the third.”

Of Cunningham’s performance on the night, Williams said: “I think he has great balance. They blitzed from the jump, and he just got off of it early…and let (his teammates) make plays.

“I learned from being around really good guards like Chris (Paul) and Devin (Booker). When those guys got off of it early, and you were able to execute and make shots, then it cleaned it up for those guys and defenses change and now you’re playing against normal coverage.”

Simone Fontecchio, starting in place of the injured Ausar Thompson, had a big night for the Pistons, too. He was 7-of-11 from the field and hit three three-pointers, scoring 17 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a blocked shot. Off the bench for the Pistons, James Wiseman added 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Hornets were led by Bridges, who scored a game-high 24 points, while Grant Williams added 22, and Nick Richards chipped in with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Pistons return to action Wednesday, March 13, when they face the Toronto Raptors at home. The last time the Pistons played the Raptors was Dec. 30, 2023, when the Pistons won 129-127, snapping their NBA-record 28-game losing streak.

About Post Author

From the Web

Skip to content