Before the Charlotte Hornets (5-7) took the floor vs. the Detroit Pistons (4-9) in Charlotte on Friday, head coach James Borrego talked about the team's need to play with consistency on the defensive end. In particular, he maintained that the the Hornets would have to limit the Pistons from achieving any 30-plus pojnt quarters. He couldn't have imagined that despite that not being the case, the Hornets would win the game 109-106 on a last second shot.
In addition to shooting only 21.4 percent from 3-point range, the Hornets also gave up two 30-plus point quarters to the Pistons and were out-rebounded 25-17 in the first half. The Charlotte Hornets trailed 65-51 at the half.
The second half saw a different Hornet's team. In the third, after holding the Piston to only 18-points, the Hornets managed to climb out of the deficit with the help of Terry Rozier's team leading 19-points and went on to tie the game 83-83 after a Cody Zeller 3-pointer to end the quarter.
The fourth quarter surge by the Hornets was anchored by Devonte' Graham who had 12 of his 18-points in the second half. Rookie Cody Martin also contributed to the "hustle stats" and was impressive on the defensive end. Martin also garnered seven points and six rebounds.
Later in the fourth, Marvin Williams nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 106-106 with under ten second left in regulation.
After a Detroit turnover, the Hornets got the ball back with one second left for a game-winner. Malik Monk ended up with the inbound pass near the top of the key and hit the game-winning three-pointer with no time remaining. Monk finished with 19-points, 4 rebounds and one assist. "Coach drew up a nice play, back screen for Devonte' [Graham] because he's been hot all year ...but I just came off and got an open shot," Monk said. "We never gave up, stuck with each other and locked in on defense."
The Hornets second half efforts were responsible for dominance on the boards. They out shined the Pistons 58-44 in points in the paint. The Hornets also had 17 second-chance points to the Piston's 7 second chance points. "It was our defense that got us this win tonight and it started in the third quarter," Borrego said. "We have the ability to guard and defend in this league, we just have to do it more consistently."
The Hornets, with six players in double figures, including starting point guard Terry Rozier who had 19-points, got back into the win column with the 109-106 win as they head into a four-game road trip.
HORNETS UPCOMING GAMES
11/16, Sat New York Knicks Madison Square Garden 7:30 p.m. FSSE
11/18, Mon Toronto Raptors Scotia Bank Arena 7:30 p.m. FSSE
11/20, Wed Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center 7:30 p.m. FSSE
11/22, Fri Washington Wizards Capital One Arena 7 p.m. FSSE