Howard leads Hornets over Pistons 114-98 for 4th win in row


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dwight Howard had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Kemba Walker added 17 points and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Detroit Pistons 114-98 on Sunday for their season-best fourth straight win.

The Hornets improved to 27-33 while making a push toward the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. The Pistons have 28 wins, and there are eight teams in the conference with at least 31 victories.

Seven Charlotte players scored in double digits, and the Hornets’ bench outscored Detroit’s reserves 51-28.

Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 20 points on 10-for-18 shooting, while Andre Drummond had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Detroit has lost five of six.

The Hornets used a 14-0 run, sparked entirely by the bench, to outscore Detroit 38-27 in the second quarter. In that big stretch, reserve forward Frank Kaminsky had six points while backup center Cody Zeller and forward Traveon Graham each had four.

By halftime, Charlotte held a 70-46 advantage, as all 10 players who got into the game scored.

Howard had 10 points and five rebounds while Nicolas Batum had six assists in the first quarter as the Hornets jumped to a quick 32-19 advantage.


Pistons: Griffin drew a technical foul in the fourth quarter after being called for an offensive foul and shoving Hornets center Cody Zeller after the whistle. . Anthony Tolliver had a Flagrant 1 foul in the fourth quarter. . Detroit has forced 10 or more turnovers in 58 of 59 games this season, and in 46 consecutive games. That marks the longest streak in the NBA and the longest streak by a Pistons team since 2007 (49). The Hornets had 18 turnovers.

Hornets: With their second win over the Pistons this season, the Hornets clinched a playoff tiebreaker over Detroit. The two teams faced each other for the third and final time Sunday. . The Hornets neared the franchise record of 77 first-half points, set Jan. 17 against Washington. . Charlotte’s bench outscored Detroit’s 28-6 in the first half. … Charlotte shot 16 of 35 on 3-pointers. Detroit was 4 of 18.


Pistons: Play at Toronto on Monday.

Hornets: Host Chicago on Tuesday.