AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and the Detroit Pistons extended their winning streak to five games by holding off the Charlotte Hornets 112-105 on Friday night at The Palace.
Caldwell-Pope, who missed Detroit’s previous game with an illness, also contributed seven rebounds and four assists.
Marcus Morris scored 20 points — all but one in the first half — for the Pistons (39-34), who lead the Chicago Bulls by two games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Andre Drummond posted his league-high 60th double-double with 18 points and 14 points as Detroit led from virtually start to finish.
Reggie Jackson chipped in 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Pistons, who are 5-1 during their franchise-record nine-game homestand. Aron Baynes added 16 points and eight rebounds
Kemba Walker’s 29 points led the Hornets (41-31), who entered the night trailing first-place Atlanta by a half game in the Southeast Division. It was just Charlotte’s third loss in the last 14 games.
Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter made it 77-58 and another one in transition upped the lead to 86-63. He finished the quarter with 14 points as Detroit took a 98-76 lead into the fourth.
When Caldwell-Pope dunked with 9:20 left, the lead was up to 26 at 104-78. But the Hornets made a frantic comeback and got the Pistons’ advantage down to 108-103 in the final minute after Jeremy Lamb’s 3-pointer. Jackson and Baynes sealed the Detroit win with free throws.
Morris and Drummond combined for 33 points and 15 rebounds in the first half to power Detroit to a 72-56 halftime lead. The halftime point total was a Pistons season high and the first time they reached 70 by the break.
The Pistons reeled off 12 straight points after Hornets forward Marvin Williams’ three-point play that opened the scoring. They never looked back, leading by double digits most of the way.
The only thing that went right for the Hornets during the half was Walker’s outside shooting. He poured in 25 points, including a shot from beyond midcourt just before the second-quarter buzzer.
NOTES: The Hornets won 19 of their last 24 games and Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy pointed to an improved roster. “You look at how many more skilled players they have than they did a year ago, they’ve really transformed their team,” he said. … Charlotte has eight players who can become free agents at the end of the season, but coach Steve Clifford doesn’t worry about individual agendas. “You want to make more money, play on a team that wins,” he said. … The Hornets won the first two meetings by an average of 19.5 points. … The Pistons are 20-5 when all of their starters score in double figures. … Detroit SGs Lorenzo Brown and Jodie Meeks were inactive. Brown has not played since signing a 10-day contract on March 1. … Hornets PG Kemba Walker has 12 of their 16 30-point games this season.