What: Charlotte Hornets (1-0) vs Detroit Pistons (0-1)
When: 7:00pm Eastern
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets–Icon (teal); Pistons–Statement (black)
Odds: Hornets -3.5; O/U 225.5
Hornets: Bryce McGowens – questionable (ankle), Cody Martin – out (knee), James Bouknight – out (knee), Frank Ntilikina – out (leg)
Pistons: Bojan Bogdanovic – out (calf), Monte Morris – out (quad), Isaiah Livers – out (ankle)
Before we get to the actual game, I was looking for the Pistons injury report, and apparently their PR social media presence is bad enough to push someone to make a parody Twitter account mocking the lack of clarity regarding the team’s injured players.
Anyway, basketball stuff. People like the Pistons because they’ve amassed a good collection of super talented youngsters. 2021 first overall pick Cade Cunningham had an explosive return after missing almost all of last season, scoring 30 points and nine assists in the season opener. They also have guys like Jalen Duren (aka not Mark Williams), Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, James Wiseman and others.
All of the highly touted draft picks probably aren’t ready to make real noise yet though. Duren, Cunningham, and Stewart looked really good against the Heat on Wednesday. The rest of the young guys, not quite so much. Ivey got just 17 minutes off the bench behind notoriously underperforming Killian Hayes, and James Wiseman didn’t even get off the bench and is seemingly third string behind Duren and other draft bust Marvin Bagley III. Thompson had an absurd five blocks from the wing position, but he struggled badly offensively.
The Pistons rebound 37.5% of their misses in the season opener, which was the fourth highest number in the league. Both Duren and Stewart were active on the glass and hauled in six offensive rebounds apiece, so Mark Williams is going to need to be ready to battle on the boards. PJ Washington and the rest of lineup need to crash down to help as well.
Their offense runs heavily through Cade Cunningham. He put up 27 shots in 36 minutes and dominated the touches on offense. He had the ball well over twice as much as any other player on the team, with Killian Hayes being a distant second. If the Hornets can clamp him up, the Pistons don’t have much else in the way of offensive creation.
The Hornets need a better game from LaMelo Ball after he laid a stinker of a first half in the season. He’s had a fair share of poor openers or returns after layoffs in the past, so there’s no need to be concerned. The matchup between he and Cunningham will be a major source of intrigue.
If the Hornets control the glass and keep Cunningham under control, there’s no reason they can’t win this game. The Pistons have talent, but they’re not quite at a competitive level yet. The Hornets have a lot more offensive firepower and should be able to outscore the Pistons if they play a clean game.