Charlotte Hornets

Hornets hit the boards to dominate the Pistons

Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller (40) grabs a rebound in front of Detroit Pistons' Reggie Jackson (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015.
Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller (40) grabs a rebound in front of Detroit Pistons' Reggie Jackson (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. AP

Before Monday’s Charlotte Hornets-Detroit Pistons game, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said the Hornets have the talent to contend in the Eastern Conference.

Then the Hornets made Van Gundy look more predictive than he would have preferred.

The Hornets got Detroit center Andre Drummond into foul trouble and ran out to a lead of 20 or more points in the third quarter en route to a 104-84 home victory at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets outrebounded the Pistons 57-41.

The Hornets are building a strong home-court advantage, going 9-3 so far this season at Time Warner. They are 12-8 overall.

The Pistons loss broke a four-game winning streak, dropping Detroit to 12-10.

[Box score: Pistons vs. Hornets]

Three who mattered

Cody Zeller: He’s filling in well as a starter (20 points and six rebounds) in the absence of center Al Jefferson (calf strain).

Nic Batum: He didn’t shoot well, but he did a little bit of everything statistically (13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds).

Andre Drummond: Unfortunately for the Pistons center what mattered Monday was his foul trouble.

Observations

▪  Point guard Kemba Walker (14 points and nine rebounds) started for the Hornets on Monday after missing the morning shootaround with an illness.

▪  The Hornets and Pistons have been the two biggest turnarounds in the East this season. Through 19 games last season the Hornets were 4-15.

▪  Batum had his fourth double-double of the season versus the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. Closest he’s come to a triple-double this season was 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists versus the Sacramento Kings.

▪  Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is high on the Hornets’ off-season roster makeover: “You have to look at Charlotte as a true contender in the East.”

▪  Batum extended his streak of making at least one 3 to 15 games Monday.

Worth mentioning

▪  Hornets associate head coach Patrick Ewing was back after missing the previous two games after knee surgery.

▪  Reserve center Spencer Hawes is a skilled passer. He found Jeremy Lamb on a bounce pass for a reverse layup in the second quarter.

▪  Steve Clifford said pre-game that had Walker not played, he would have started Jeremy Lin.

Report card

B OFFENSE: The 3-point shooting wasn’t very good, but the Hornets scored well in the paint.

A DEFENSE: Holding the Pistons to 70 points in the first three quarters was excellent work.

A COACHING: Detroit is one of the NBA’s top rebounding teams, and the Hornets dominated on the boards.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

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