DETROIT (AP) — DETROIT (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half to help the Charlotte Hornets build a big lead and they went on to beat the Detroit Pistons 104-91 Sunday.
Charlotte (38-42) has won three straight to cling to its chances of rallying for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons (39-41) have lost four in a row to possibly plummet from being a sixth-seeded team to missing the postseason for a third consecutive year and the ninth time in a decade.
Detroit coach Dwane Casey said before the game that his team had to slow down Walker after he helped the Hornets win the previous three matchups.
That simply didn’t happen.
Walker had 11 points in the first quarter and nine in the second, lifting the Hornets to a 60-42 lead.
The electric point guard had plenty of help.
Hornets reserve Frank Kaminski scored a season-high 24 points and Jeremy Lamb had 17 points off the bench. Charlotte’s Dwayne Bacon had 14 points and rookie Miles Bridges added 10 points.
Detroit was led by reserve point guard Ish Smith, who scored 20 points, for a team struggling offensively. Blake Griffin had 16 points on 5 of 18 shooting, looking like he’s playing through an injury. Andre Drummond had 15 points and 23 rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 14 points.
Hornets: Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed the game for personal reasons and forward Marvin Williams was out for a third straight game because of his injured right foot.
Pistons: The 2004 NBA champions, including Chauncey Billups, were welcomed back and honored throughout the game and during a halftime ceremony.
Hornets: Close regular season at Cleveland on Tuesday and at home against Orlando on Wednesday.
Pistons: Ends regular season against Memphis on Tuesday and at New York on Wednesday.