Charlotte Hornets

Fearless predictions: Why Monday’s matinee in Detroit won’t go in Hornets’ favor

Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) always creates matchup problems, as a player with a power forward’s build and a perimeter player’s skill set.
Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) always creates matchup problems, as a player with a power forward’s build and a perimeter player’s skill set. AP

Five fearless predictions for Monday’s Charlotte Hornets game against the Detroit Pistons:

1. Dwight Howard’s day will be early ... and long, too.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond is one of the few NBA centers who has no reason to feel physically intimidated by the Hornets’ Howard. Drummond’s 15-rebound average is eye-popping.

2. Mr. Smith goes to Detroit

Former Wake Forest star Ish Smith has done well as a backup point guard for the Pistons. Of late, he’s been starting due to Reggie Jackson’s right ankle sprain.

3. A little of this, a little of that

Acquiring Tobias Harris has been one of the best things Stan Van Gundy has done since taking over the Pistons. He has power-forward size and small-forward skill, which means he’s a big matchup problem.

4. Some road momentum?

The Hornets went 3-1 on a recent West Coast trip. They must play significantly better on the road the rest of the season to have any shot at the playoffs, since they have already played 23 of 41 home games (11-12).

5. Pistons 103, Hornets 97

This is the last game before coach Steve Clifford comes back from medical leave.

Following a medical leave of more than a month, the Charlotte Hornets’ Steve Clifford will return to coach his team starting Tuesday at practice.

Hornets at Pistons

Where: Little Caesars Arena

When: Monday, 12:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southeast /WFNZ 610-AM

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