Hornets deal crucial blow to Pistons playoff hopes

To add a slight modification to the famous line from former Knicks guard Michael Ray Richardson: this ship (might) be sinking. The Pistons were outscored 30-17 in the fourth quarter Sunday evening, coughing up a double digit lead in the process and falling to the Charlotte Hornets 108-101.

The loss is the Pistons’ sixth straight, dragging them from the cusp of playoff contention to being now five games behind the Hornets for the eighth spot in the East.

From the start, it appeared as though it may be the Pistons’ day, as they displayed a sense of cohesion not frequently seen since their roster upheaval at the trade deadline. Point guard Reggie Jackson scored 21 first half points, including an explosive dunk over Hornets forward Al Jefferson.

However, the second half, the fourth quarter in particular, was a different story. The Hornets tightened their defensive grasp in the final frame, inducing a series of turnovers and difficult shots off the dribble. After his exquisite first half, Jackson was held to just four points in the second half, including scoring just two in the fourth.

On the other side of the ball, Charlotte rode noted Pistons killer Al Jefferson, who scored 24 points on 10-14 shooting from the floor. His ever-reliable touch inside paired with a respectable mid-range game proved troublesome for the Pistons frontcourt defense.

But in the end, it was the Pistons offense that spelled their demise. Jackson finished with 25 points for a Pistons team that shot just a touch over 33% in the second half after hitting over half of their shots in the first.

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Greg Monroe tallied 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists in the loss.

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