Pistons, Hornets cap 10-day sequences
Charlotte’s 108-107 home win over the Pistons last Wednesday provided one of the NBA’s snippets of the year when Hornets owner Michael Jordan was seen bopping Malik Monk on the back of the head for having received a potentially costly technical foul in the final second of the dramatic win.
Jordan’s reaction came after Jeremy Lamb had hit what appeared to be a buzzer-beating, tie-breaking jumper that put the Hornets ahead of the Pistons 108-106.
Monk and fellow reserve Bismack Biyombo celebrated the win prematurely, rushing onto the court without noticing that there was still three-tenths of a second on the clock.
Monk was assessed a technical foul, which the Pistons converted to get within 108-107, before failing to connect on a desperation heave on their ensuing possession.
Jordan was caught on television physically reprimanding Monk for his blunder.
Afterward, Hornets coach James Borrego and game hero Lamb admitted they got caught up in the moment as well before the referees sorted out the proper punishment.
“My heart stopped for a second there,” Borrego admitted to reporters afterward.
“I thought they were going to call like three techs, get three free throws — something like that,” Lamb noted.
Interestingly, with all eye on him, Monk has been on a roller-coaster ride ever since the incident.
He contributed nine points, just below his season average of 10.6, in Charlotte’s 126-124 overtime loss to New York, before exploding for 19 in 27 minutes in a 128-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Monk then never left the bench in Wednesday’s 110-99 win over Cleveland.
The Pistons have responded well from the near-miss at Charlotte, winning two of three, beating Boston on Saturday to end the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak, before outlasting Minnesota on the road Wednesday in an overtime affair.
In between, they dropped another narrow decision, this one 107-104 to Milwaukee.
“Guys were just making the right plays,” Pistons star Blake Griffin explained to reporters after the 129-123 win over the Timberwolves. “We did it against Boston. We didn’t do it against Milwaukee. We did it tonight. That’s what made the difference.”
The Hornets, meanwhile, now need a second home win over the Pistons in order to complete the 10-day home stay with a winning record.
Charlotte was able to win the first meeting despite getting outshot 46.5 percent to 41.2 from the field and getting outscored 39-27 on 3-pointers.
The difference in the game came at the free throw line, where the Hornets converted 29 of 37, while the Pistons made just 14 of 21.
On the other hand, Griffin, one of the NBA’s leaders in free throw attempts, didn’t make the most of his nine trips to the stripe, going just 5-for-9.