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
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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.
Hornets at Pistons
Where: Little Caesars Arena
When: Monday, 12:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southeast /WFNZ 610-AM