Kemba Walker scored 31 points and Frank Kaminsky added a season-high 24, and the Charlotte Hornets kept their playoff hopes alive with a 104-91 victory over the host Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon.
The Hornets raced to a 23-point lead in the first half and then held on after the Pistons cut the margin to just one on two occasions in the fourth quarter. Charlotte ended the game on a 12-3 run.
It was Charlotte’s third straight win.
The Hornets (38-42) moved into ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race and are one game behind the No. 8 Pistons (39-41). Charlotte has the same record as Miami but the Hornets hold the tiebreaker edge over both the Heat and the Pistons.
The win gave the Hornets a four-game season sweep over the Pistons.
Walker added eight rebounds and seven assists. The Hornets also got 17 points from Jeremy Lamb, 14 from Dwayne Bacon, and 10 from Miles Bridges. They played without Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tony Parker and Marvin Williams.
Detroit has now lost four straight and seven of its last nine.
Ish Smith led the Pistons with 20 points. Blake Griffin scored 16 but was hobbling much of the day with a knee injury. Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and 23 rebounds, and Wayne Ellington scored 14. The Pistons shot just 37 percent from the field and were 10 of 41 from 3-point range.
The Hornets trailed by nine early on but had a 32-27 lead after one quarter. They then used a 10-0 spurt to pull out to a 60-37 lead at one point in the second quarter, and they settled for a 60-42 lead at halftime. Charlotte then led 83-75 after three quarters.
Detroit got as close as 85-84 with eight minutes to play, but the Hornets regrouped and pulled back away, thanks to two 3-pointers down the stretch by Kaminsky and one by Walker.
The Hornets will play at Cleveland on Tuesday and will close out the season on Wednesday at home against Orlando.
The Pistons will host Memphis on Tuesday, then will play at New York on Wednesday.
—Field Level Media