Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Charlotte Hornets (15-38) at Detroit Pistons (13-39)

The Detroit Pistons had an unexpected layoff this week, though it wasn’t pleasant.

The team got stuck in Dallas, thanks to a combination of mechanical issues with its plane and poor weather conditions. The Pistons will return to action with a back-to-back set of home games, beginning with a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Detroit was supposed to begin the homestand against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday after losing to the Mavericks 111-105 on Monday night. However, the Pistons didn’t leave Texas until Thursday afternoon.

The Pistons return home having lost nine of their past 11 games. In the Monday defeat, Dallas superstar Luka Doncic overwhelmed Detroit with 53 points — and fouled out Pistons point guards Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes as they tried to guard him.

Despite Doncic’s outburst, Detroit was down by just two points with less than two minutes remaining. The Pistons came up empty in their last four possessions while getting outscored 28-21 during the final quarter.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s 29 points led the Pistons and Saddiq Bey contributed 18. However, Bey missed a potential tying layup with 1:10 left.

The Friday game will be the second of four meetings this season between the two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Detroit won 141-134 in overtime at Charlotte on Dec. 14. Alec Burks led the Pistons with 27 points off the bench while Hayes had 25 and Bogdanovic supplied 24. Kelly Oubre Jr., currently sidelined due to a hand injury, topped the Hornets with 28 points.

Charlotte will be playing the second of back-to-back road games, having lost 114-98 to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

The Hornets made only seven of 35 3-point tries (20 percent) and 41.9 percent of their field-goal attempts overall. The Bulls shot 51.9 percent from the floor, 39.3 percent (11 of 28) from long range.

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, who compiled 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists, was ejected in the late going for arguing a non-call. Clifford was not pleased.

The Hornets have still won half of their last eight games.

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