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Unrelenting effort on offensive end helps short-handed Hornets top Pistons 100-95
Despite getting outplayed in several areas, New Orleans’ energy on offense was enough to collect a narrow home victory over Detroit on Friday night.
First, some stats from tonight’s game:
FG%: Pistons – 39/78 (50.0%), Hornets – 35/81 (43.2%)
3P%: Pistons – 5/19 (36.8%), Hornets – 5/20 (35%)
Assists: Pistons – 26, Hornets – 17
Defensive Rebounds: Pistons – 29, Hornets – 29
Points in the Paint: Pistons – 56, Hornets – 46
Second Chance Points: Pistons – 16, Hornets – 16
In each of those areas, Detroit either matched the Hornets (3P%, DREB, 2nd chance pts) or vastly outplayed them (FG%, AST, pts in the paint). The Hornets outplayed the Pistons in only two key areas – offensive rebounding (18 to 11 advantage) and turnovers (11 to 14). The offensive rebounding did not lead to an advantage in second chance points (as mentioned above), and the turnover edge resulted in only a +4 point differential in points off of turnovers. So how the hell did the Hornets win tonight?
They got to the line. With incredible frequency.
This season, the Pistons have averaged 19.8 fouls per game, close to the NBA average. As a result of those fouls, their opponents average 22.3 free throw attempts per game. Tonight, Detroit fouled New Orleans 21 times, 2 of which were offensive fouls, which is barely a noticeable variance from the norm for them. However, they allowed a whopping 31 free throws to a Hornets team that averages just 19.3 free throw attempts per game, fourth worst in the NBA. Out of the Pistons’ 19 non-offensive fouls, 16 of them resulted in at least one free throw. To compare, the Hornets committed 16 fouls (1 offensive), but only 8 of their 15 non-offensive fouls led to free throw attempts for the Pistons.
The Hornets’ 31 free throw attempts on 81 shots results in a free throw rate of .383, which would be tops in the NBA by a very wide margin (the Thunder currently lead the league with a rate of .339). If they had only earned their season average free throw rate (.242, fifth worst in the NBA), they would have shot 11 less free throws. Also surprising is the fact that the Pistons have allowed a free throw rate of .274 this season, right around league average, meaning they’re not a team typically prone to giving up tons of trips to the line.
In summary, while the Hornets struggled to make jump shots tonight, they did a great job of attacking the paint and getting to the free throw line. New Orleans shot 15 more free throws than Detroit tonight, and were +13 from the line because of it. When you win a game that comes down to the final minute of play, that differential is huge, and was the main reason that the Hornets came away with the victory (although Greivis Vasquez abusing Jose Calderon’s horrendous defense down the stretch also helps).