The Charlotte Hornets will have a different lineup on Wednesday than the one they used to defeat Western Conference-leader Minnesota on Monday.
The Hornets agreed on Tuesday to deal high-scoring guard Terry Rozier to Miami for veteran point guard Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick. Charlotte will play its first game since the trade at Detroit on Wednesday.
Rozier scored just 11 points in the Hornets’ 128-125 victory over the host Timberwolves, but he’s averaging 23.2 points and 6.6 assists this season. The deal was motivated by a desire to clear cap and pick up a future asset. Lowry has an expiring contract.
Charlotte collected just its 10th win on Monday. The Hornets overcame Karl-Anthony Towns’ franchise-record 62 points and an 18-point deficit.
The Hornets outscored the Timberwolves 36-18 in the fourth quarter.
“We were plus-18 in the fourth, our defense was really good,” coach Steve Clifford said. “And our offense, they’re the best defensive team in the league and we scored 36 in the fourth. So, it was a good 12 minutes of basketball.”
It was an unlikely rally, given that Towns alone racked up 44 first-half points.
“Well, listen he was 8-for-8 for 3s early and he was great,” Clifford said. “And we were not locked into what we were supposed to be doing. We did better in the second half. You give a guy like him open shots like that … There’s missed coverages, just not being aware enough, and he got going. We were better, particularly with the game on the line.”
The forward combo of Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges combined for 55 of Charlotte’s points and point guard LaMelo Ball dished out 13 assists with only one turnover.
“I feel like it’s going to be a turning point,” Bridges said. “They’re the No. 1 in the West, top defense in the league. That just shows that if we do the right things, then we can win against anybody. So, I feel like it’s a turning point for us. They’re a great team, they’re going to do great things in the playoffs. So, we’re trying to get to where they’re at.”
One of the Pistons’ four wins this season came at Charlotte’s expense, as Alec Burks scored 24 points in a 111-99 triumph on Oct. 27.
The Pistons are coming off a pair of home losses to Milwaukee — a wild 141-135 shootout on Saturday and a 122-113 decision on Monday. Detroit had a lead early in the fourth quarter in the rematch but fell apart during crunch time.
“It’s just the last five to six minutes, we just stop making winning plays,” rookie guard Marcus Sasser said. “Gave up too many offensive rebounds, gave them too many second-chance points. Really, just not executing on the offensive end down the stretch.”
Lottery pick Ausar Thompson scored 22 points in Saturday’s loss. Sasser, a late first-round selection, had a breakthrough game on Monday with 23 points.
Sasser hadn’t scored more than 11 points since Nov. 30.
“He’s fearless,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said. “He’s not going to run from a shot. Sometimes I don’t know it’s coming, but I know he’s trying to score and he has good intentions.”
Detroit has lost the first three games of a six-game homestand.
–Field Level Media
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