|1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET20:00 GMT4:00 1:00 PM MST3:00 PM EST0:00 UAE (+1)22:0016:00 ET3:00 PM CT19:00 , April 7, 2019
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan Attendance: 19,871
Pistons close in on playoff berth, Hornets need help
Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons
- The Hornets are 3-0 against Detroit this season, and have won five straight in the series overall. Charlotte went 3-0 against the Pistons in 2013-14 but hasn't swept a season series of four or more games against them since going 5-0 in 1994-95.
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The Detroit Pistons will host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday in a matchup of teams still competing for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit (39-40) is in better shape than Charlotte (37-42) despite losing six of eight games, including its third in row with a 123-110 defeat at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.
The eighth-place Pistons are a half-game behind both the Brooklyn Nets (40-40) and the Orlando Magic (40-40) in the chase for the final three playoff spots in the East.
There were two pieces of good news for Detroit on Friday night, though.
First, Miami (38-41) lost at Minnesota, effectively putting the Pistons two games up on the ninth-place Heat because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. Detroit still controls its playoff fate.
"It's the season," coach Dwane Casey said on NBA.com. "It's in our hands. It's right in our hands and nobody else but us. Go back home, take care of home."
The other good news: Power forward Blake Griffin, who had missed three games because of a knee injury, returned with a monster game -- 45 points, including making a career-high 9 of 14 shots from 3-point range. Some context on how the ninth-year pro has grown as a long-range shooter: He made a total of nine shots from beyond the arc over his first two NBA seasons, spanning 148 games.
"I thought we did a great job of fighting for 3 1/2 quarters or at least three quarters," Griffin said of Friday night's game.
"I've got to be better in the fourth when I come back in and help us either get stops or get better buckets. So I liked the way we fought, but this time of the season we can't dwell on this. We've got to move on and get three."
Charlotte is clinging to playoff hopes thanks to a thrilling 113-111 win over the visiting Toronto Raptors on Friday night, when Jeremy Lamb hit a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining to give the Hornets the lead.
"This group, no matter what, you can't kill them," coach James Borrego said in his postgame press conference. "They just keep coming back. We just continue to fight and claw and scrap, and it's not pretty every single possession or quarter, but this group stays together."
Charlotte has to win its final three games -- the Hornets also play at Cleveland and finish at home versus Orlando -- and hope for a lot of help.
"Each one of these games ... they're one-game playoffs," center Frank Kaminsky said on NBA.com. "We can only take it game-by-game and do what we can. I have all the belief in the world that we're going to get this done."
Having All-Star guard Kemba Walker helps. He scored 29 against Toronto and became the second player in franchise history to reach 2,000 points in a season, joining Glen Rice, who scored 2,115 in 1996-97.
Detroit finishes with a home game against Memphis on Tuesday, followed by a road game at the New York Knicks a night later.
"Whatever is going on in our lives, good, bad or indifferent, we've got to flush it down, come back in as a group and be ready to perform on Sunday and then Tuesday and Wednesday," Casey said.
Charlotte has won all three games against the Pistons this season.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 6, 2019