NEW ORLEANS — The undermanned Hornets limped home after a 45-point loss Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, a game in which they looked listless against the dominant Thunder.
That is not the same team that Detroit coach Lawrence Frank remembers.
The Hornets (20-39) host his Pistons (23-37), who feature former Cox star Greg Monroe, on Friday night at New Orleans Arena. The Hornets jumped on the Pistons 105-86 on Feb. 11 in Auburn Hills, Mich.
“They played extremely hard and made great multiple-effort plays,” Frank said. “They are a group that is well organized and plays off each other. They are an outstanding pick-and-roll team, and you can see they are headed in the right direction.”
New Orleans has lost five of six games, including the past two. Rookie power forward Anthony Davis has a sprained right shoulder and might sit out his second consecutive game.
Davis, who did not accompany the team to Oklahoma City, seemed to hyper-extend the shoulder with about 4½ minutes left in the third quarter of Tuesday’s home loss to Brooklyn. Hornets officials are waiting to see whether the swelling subsides and said Davis is day-to-day. Whether he’ll play against the Pistons will be determined after Friday morning’s shoot-around.
Backup center/forward Jason Smith, who also has an ailing right shoulder, also did not play Tuesday but is probable for Detroit.
The game is the first of three consecutive home games and four of five at home in 10 days. The Hornets have 11 home games in March.
Center Robin Lopez said the Hornets have to just “throw away” games such as the blowout at Oklahoma City, which came against the best team in the Western Conference. The Hornets were playing the second of back-to-back games, and the Thunder hadn’t played since Sunday.
“Games like that happen,” Lopez said. “Get in some treatment, (and) just focus on the next game.”
The last time against Detroit, Lopez had one of his best games of the season while matched up with Monroe, one of the league’s top young centers. Lopez had 23 points, 10 rebounds — four offensive — and two blocked shots, and coach Monty Williams lauded his defense.
“The way he played in the paint was tremendous,” he said. “Greg Monroe is a stud and (power forward Jason) Maxiell is so physical, and Robin was helping (Davis) out a lot. Then, offensively, he was able to dive and finish around the basket.”
Monroe, who averages 15.4 points and 9.5 rebounds, had 17 points and 11 rebounds — five offensive — against his hometown team.
The Hornets held the Pistons to 35.9 percent shooting and shot 49.4 percent, led by Ryan Anderson with 31 points. New Orleans overcame an early deficit, led 55-41 at halftime and extended it to 75-55 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
Since then, the Hornets have gone 2-5 and Detroit 3-4. But the Pistons are coming off a 96-95 victory Wednesday at Washington. That ended a three-game losing streak in which they surrendered an average of 106 points, including 114 both at Indiana and at home against Atlanta. Detroit’s three victories since meeting the Hornets have come against the Wizards (18-39) twice and Charlotte (13-44).
In Wednesday’s win, Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds. He scored six consecutive points in the first quarter to give the Pistons an early lead and finished the quarter with 10. He had a driving layup with 28.5 seconds left in the third and hit a key shot with five minutes remaining that pushed Detroit’s lead to 86-81.
Unlike in the teams’ first meeting, Hornets guard Eric Gordon will play Friday. He missed the first game with Detroit because it was the second of back-to-back games and sat out the Oklahoma City drubbing for the same reason.
The Pistons, who have lost their past three games in New Orleans, are still without promising rookie center Andre Drummond, who came out of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 3 with a stress fracture of the fifth lumbar vertebra. The team announced this week that he would be out four to six weeks.
The Hornets were 5-8 in February after going 8-8 in January. ... The Friday Night Concert Series continues before Friday’s game: The band 5 Finger Discount will perform at Champions Square beginning at 5:30 p.m. Pregame family activities include Hornets inflatables, face-painting and caricature artists as well as the Hornets Bookmobile and Mathmobile.
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