AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Al Jefferson scored 24 points and the streaking Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons 108-101 on Sunday night in a matchup of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls.
The Hornets have won five straight to strengthen their bid for a postseason berth, while Detroit has dropped six in a row.
Mo Williams had 19 points and nine assists for the Hornets, and Gerald Henderson added 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds. All five Charlotte starters scored in double figures for the fifth time in six games.
Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 25 points, but scored only four on 2-of-9 shooting in the second half. Greg Monroe added 18 points and 11 rebounds but Detroit continued to struggle from outside, going 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.
The game was played with a twist from the 1970s, as there were only two officials. J.T. Orr fell ill before the game, leaving Ronnie Garretson and Pat Fraher to call the game. The NBA switched to three-man crews in 1978.
Jackson dominated the first half, scoring 21 points on 12 shots as the Pistons took a 62-54 lead against one of the NBA’s top defenses. Detroit also outscored Charlotte 32-24 in the paint despite both Andre Drummond and Anthony Tolliver being limited by foul trouble.
Jefferson had 10 points as Charlotte pulled to 72-71 midway through the third, eight of them on mid-range jumpers. The Hornets led by as many as four, but Detroit rallied when Jefferson went to the bench and led 84-78 at the end of the quarter.
The Hornets, though, started the fourth with a 20-6 run to take a 98-90 lead with 5 minutes to play. Lance Stephenson, who hadn’t scored in the first three quarters, had nine points during the surge.
Hornets: Williams has reached double figures in each of his nine games since joining the Hornets at the trade deadline. In those nine games, Williams is averaging 21.7 points and 8.7 assists. . Jason Maxiell, who played for Detroit from 2005-13, drew a loud round of applause when he checked into the game in the second half.
Pistons: Joel Anthony (groin) missed his second straight game, so Shawne Williams was pressed into early service when Drummond and Tolliver each picked up two fouls in the first 6 minutes.
Hornets: Host the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Pistons: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.