AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Auburn Hills– Will Bynum went from goat to hero and finally, when the Pistons looked to lose yet another heartbreaker, Jason Maxiell had enough.
Maxiell’s inbounds steal of a pass intended for David West resulted in a battle for the ball that Maxiell won, punctuated by a slam with .5 seconds remaining in overtime, as the Pistons won 111-108 against the Hornets.
“It’s a roller coaster,” said Maxiell of the season to date. “I saw the ball coming and I tried to get to it before he did. I wanted to secure the game.” Bynum’s driving layup with 7.2 seconds left atoned for a turnover that gave the Hornets a one-point lead. A possession earlier, he airballed a short jumper, but Kuester stayed with him.
“They still had confidence in me,” said Bynum, who had 21 points and nine assists. “It was heart, we wanted to win. We’re not giving up despite what the score says. Those are the kind of guys you want to live and die with.”
The Pistons crunch time lineup didn’t feature Rodney Stuckey (sore left toe), Tracy McGrady or Richard Hamilton (upset stomach), who’ve all helped pull out the few games they’ve won this season.
Tayshaun Prince had a quiet but efficient performance with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. The final of his four blocks, swatting away Chris Paul’s layup at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
Ben Gordon shook off missing his first seven shots to score 25, with a layup pulling the Pistons within one with two minutes remaining.
“It took me a while to get into a rhythm, I was hesitating,” Gordon said. “I just wanted to come out and be more aggressive and not second-guess my shot.”
Gordon hit a 3-pointer with 21.9 seconds remaining to tie it up, and scored the first five of overtime to give the Pistons an early lead. Maxiell nicknamed him “The Microwave,” although Vinnie Johnson might have a copyright on that.
“I’ve been having games like this my whole career,” Gordon said. “I’d never think they’d be so few and far between. Hopefully, that’ll change.” Gordon started with Tracy McGrady in the backcourt.
McGrady, however, missed the second half with a sore groin for a short-handed team that included a sidelined Austin Daye, who is recovering from a strained hamstring.
The personnel losses gave lesser known reserve DaJuan Summers an opportunity to give the Pistons a lift.
Summers scored eight points in eight minutes due to McGrady’s absence, and drew praise from coach John Kuester.
“We don’t win that without some of the big plays he made,” Kuester said of Summers. “Very proud of this bunch that played today. It’s amazing what happens when you do compete.”
Summers tipped a ball away to start the fourth, resulting in a Gordon layup to make it 78-76. A minute later, the second-year forward hit his second 3-pointer.
“When you have everybody on the floor and on the bench focused on the game, you have a good outcome,” Summers said. “It’s just about being a professional, not knowing when your number is going to be called but being ready.”
David West scored a team-high 32 points for the Hornets and added nine rebounds. Chris Paul engineered an14-5 for a New Orleans 10-point lead in the first half and finished with 23 points, 10 assists, and four steals.