Injuries, depth issues and future rivalries in Pistons vs. Hornets

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) dribbles against Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sportsthe
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) dribbles against Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sportsthe /

The Detroit Pistons will stay on the road tonight to take on the Charlotte Hornets, looking for their first win of the season.

The Pistons dropped a heartbreaker in their opener, and while it was still a loss, this one felt different, as Detroit defended and came up with big stops in crunch time.

The Hornets beat the Hawks for their first win of the season behind big games from PJ Washington, Mark Williams and Terry Rozier, three players the Pistons need to slow down with Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and Killian Hayes.

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Detroit got a monster game from Cade Cunningham, but struggled offensively at times, something coach Monty Williams admitted he needed to sort out.

Both teams will be missing key players tonight, so the depth will be tested while some future rivalries could be born.

Pistons vs. Hornets injury update

Detroit will still be missing Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris and Isaiah Livers, who are all out for weeks following preseason injuries. Bogdanovic was missed in game one, as the Pistons didn’t have a secondary scoring option to help Cade Cunningham. Detroit will need to get more offense from Killian Hayes and Jaden Ivey, who were both broke in game one.

The Hornets will also be missing players as James Bouknight, Miles Bridges (suspension), Cody Martin and Frank Ntilikina have all been ruled out, while Bryce McGowens is listed as questionable.

This leaves the Hornets thin in the guard ranks, so this would be a great time for Jaden Ivey and Marcus Sasser to have big games off the bench for the Pistons.

How to watch Pistons vs. Hornets

The game will tip-off in Charlotte at 7:00 PM ET (sort of, these games NEVER start on time) and you can watch on Bally Sports Detroit or listen on 97.1 FM The Ticket. If you live outside of the Detroit region, you can stream on NBA League Pass, otherwise it will be blacked out, a huge flaw in the system that needs to be addressed.

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You can also stream the game with a free trial from FUBOtv, which then charges a monthly fee.

Future rivalries could be born tonight

The Pistons and Hornets are in similar stages of their rebuilds and have some comparable players who could end up being great individual rivals in the future once these two teams finally crawl out of the basement of the Eastern Conference:

Cade Cunningham vs. LaMelo Ball

Two big point guards and the centerpieces of their rebuilds. Cade is a better defender and needs to show that tonight, as Ball is the engine that makes the Hornets go. Cunningham is 1-2 against Ball in his career and would love to even that record tonight.

Ausar Thompson vs. Brandon Miller

Two rookies taken just three picks apart in the 2023 NBA Draft, Thompson will be eager to show that he was the better choice. Thompson embraces the challenge of defending the best players in the NBA. He likely won’t start on Miller (Miller doesn’t start) but the two will cross paths throughout the game.

Jalen Duren vs. Mark Williams

Two high-ceiling big men who can get after it on the boards and block shots. Both had monster games to start the season, so this one should be fun to watch. A key in this battle will be which big can stay out of foul trouble.

The Detroit Pistons played well for a lot of the game against Miami, but there are no participation trophies in the NBA. They have to come with the same defensive intensity tonight, and if they do, should walk away with their first victory even though they are four point underdogs on the road.

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