(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Hornets are quickly falling out of the playoff picture, but have a chance to make up some ground Wednesday night when they welcome the Detroit Pistons to Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Hornets trail the Brooklyn Nets by two games for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. In between Charlotte and Brooklyn lurks the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.
The Hornets have lost four of their last five and seven of their last nine.
On Monday, Charlotte fell at home to one of its main adversaries in the race, the Celtics, 116-104.
Kemba Walker amassed 28 points and 12 assists while enabling Charlotte to cut a 22-point third-quarter deficit down to six in the final minute. However, the Hornets never got closer and were dealt a ninth loss in their last 12 games.
"I like our team, I believe in our team, but I don't like the way we play every night," Hornets head coach Steve Clifford bluntly stated. "You've got to play a game like that like the way we played the fourth quarter. We've got to play with intensity, purpose and mistake-free."
Mo Williams and Gerald Henderson had 19 and 17 points, respectively, for Charlotte.
Walker and Williams did their best to get the Hornets back in it in the fourth quarter. The latter netted five points during a 10-1 stretch that brought Charlotte within 93-83 with 7:47 remaining, and the lead was reduced to single digits when Walker's trey with 1:04 left got the score to 108-100. He put back his own miss on the Hornets' next possession to make it a six-point game.
Charlotte ran out of steam, though, as Boston hit six straight free throws the rest of the way to seal the outcome.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed the game with a sprained left ankle and Cody Zeller sat because of a shoulder issue. Lance Stephenson was a DNP-CD.
The Pistons are still not technically out of a playoff spot. They trail the Nets by 4 1/2 games and are playing good basketball of late with five wins in their last six.
On Tuesday, Detroit knocked off the conference-leading Atlanta Hawks, 105-95.
Andre Drummond had 22 points with 13 rebounds to pace the Pistons. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope registered 18 points and Reggie Jackson posted 12 points with 11 assists in the win.
"I thought our defense was better (later in the game), particularly at the basket challenging shots," said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. "We didn't give up the number of layups early in the game."
Detroit held Atlanta scoreless for the final 2:59 of the third and bridged the fourth with a 14-0 burst that opened its lead up to 83-72.
The Hawks cut their deficit to five on a couple of occasions later in the fourth, but Anthony Tolliver dropped in a 3-pointer with 7:07 remaining that started a string of nine straight points for a 96-82 Pistons lead.
Detroit led by as many as 16 before Atlanta cut down the margin in the closing minutes.
These squads split two meetings this season with the visitor prevailing each time. Charlotte has won four of the last five and the two will hook up again in 11 days in Motown.