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Detroit Pistons’ youth corps gives Charlotte Hornets a tough game before losing

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Had the Pistons won with only nine players available, it would have been one of their best wins of the season.

No Jerami Grant. Not a Mason Plumlee. No Cory Joseph.

Not really veterans.

The oldest active player was Josh Jackson, 24, and when he played with the young group, the Pistons were still in the game until the last few minutes.

Detroit Pistons striker Saddiq Bey (41) plays in the second half against a doubles team made up of Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3) and striker PJ Washington (right).

It took the Charlotte Hornets a late push to hold Flasks 107-94 at the Spectrum Center on Saturday night.

Frank Jackson had a season high of 25 points and seven rebounds, Saddiq Bey added 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Killian Hayes 10 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pistons (19-45), who lost in for the fifth time the last six games.

“We came out (played badly),” said Hayes. “We weren’t happy, the coach wasn’t happy so we knew we had to take a step forward in the second half to survive in the game and we fought to the end.

“They won and took some hard punches, but we have to play the whole game like this.”

The Butts were without nearly half of their roster, and the veterans sat for the short road trip, letting the young players deal with the hornets.

And they almost did it.

BOX SCORE: Hornets 107, Pistons 94

The Hornets (31-32) opened the fourth quarter with a lead of 79-70 after the Pistons finished the third quarter with a 10-2 run. Jackson had a 3-pointer and started a 10-2 run that reduced the lead by 9:30 minutes to 83:80.

Terry Rozier (29 points and seven rebounds) and Miles Bridges (27 points and seven rebounds) stabilized the ship for the Hornets and together scored the next 13 points. Rozier had a pair of 3-pointers and Bridges added another before Hayes finished the run with a 3-pointer and reduced the lead to 96-83.

Bey scored the next eight points on the pistons with consecutive 3-pointers to come within 98-91 with 2:08 to the left. The Hornets closed the door with two 3-pointers from Rozier in the last two minutes.

The pistons increased the difficulty as Isaiah Stewart was in dire trouble for most of the game. He got his second foul at 6:58 a.m. in the first quarter, his third at 8:18 a.m. in the third quarter, and his fourth at 8:52 a.m. in the third quarter.

“I love the kid,” said Casey. “This guy does competitions. He got some tough fouls, but it took our minds off. He is our spirit on the ground, our spirit and our tenacity on the court. “

The Pistons were up 18-17 in the first quarter until the Hornets slipped the last nine points of the period. LaMelo Ball put in 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in his first second leg from a wrist injury that had sidelined him since March 20.

The Hornets led towards the second at 26:18 and the Pistons rallied to tie it at 30, leading the way with a dunk from Sekou Doumbouya (nine points and five rebounds). The Hornets received a lay-in from Bridges and a 3-pointer from Malik Monk, who started a 25-4 run that was rated 10 points by Bridges.

“You can’t get enough two against a team like this, with scorers like Rozier. Bridges is now shooting 40% and (PJ) Washington 40%, ”said Casey. “You have to be able to take and do 3s and we didn’t do that in the first half.”

Jackson scored six direct points, but Monk (11 points) finished half-time with a three-point game and a 58-42 lead at halftime.

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Dusty Kennedy