Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Hornets are not headed to the playoffs, but they'll finish out the string, starting Sunday afternoon at The Palace of Auburn Hills against the Detroit Pistons.
The Hornets were eliminated from postseason consideration thanks to a 104-80 road drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks Friday night.
Troy Daniels had 15 points off the bench to pace the lowly Hornets, who were primed to make a postseason run before this current 5-13 stretch. They were eliminated from postseason contention with the loss and Boston's win over Cleveland on Friday.
"We don't have a lot of ways to score with the group that we have," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. "I thought we played a good first half. Then they did a good job, particularly with our pick and roll game."
The Hornets have been decimated by injuries for this stretch run. The entire starting frontline - Al Jefferson (knee), Cody Zeller (shoulder) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ankle) - has been out of action.
The Hawks trailed 48-47 at halftime but flipped the script by scoring 15 of the first 20 points following the break. Al Horford outscored Charlotte 7-5 by himself over the first eight minutes of the third quarter, Jeff Teague added a pair of baskets and the lead was 62-53.
Kyle Korver opened the fourth with a deep 3 to extend the lead to 73-60. Mike Muscala made it 14 with a putback slam on a Dennis Schroder miss three minutes later, and the margin never dipped under 14 down the stretch.
The Hornets finish the season at home versus the Houston Rockets on Monday and in Toronto on Wednesday.
The Pistons are also lottery-bound and have lost two straight and four of their last five. Detroit has dropped its last two, both at home, against playoff-hopefuls, the Celtics and Indiana Pacers.
On Friday, the Pacers left The Palace with a 107-103 victory.
Reggie Jackson scored 21 points and handed out nine assists for Detroit. Greg Monroe registered a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Andre Drummond tallied 11 points and 15 boards.
The Pistons led 96-95 with 3:39 remaining in regulation before former Piston Rodney Stuckey scored six consecutive points on mid-range jumpers to give Indiana a lasting lead. George Hill converted all six of his attempts at the charity stripe over the final 1:21 of the game to seal the decision.
"I felt like we played well and competed," said Jackson. "I'm happy with the way we came out against this test, I just wish we could have come out on top."
Sunday's game is the home finale for the Pistons, who end the campaign in Cleveland and New York.
The Hornets have won the last two matchups and five of six overall. Charlotte has won three in a row in Motown.