DETROIT, Mich. (AP) — LaMelo Ball scored 23 points, including two free throws with 5.8 seconds left, and the Charlotte Hornets took another step toward the postseason with a 102-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
Detroit trailed by two when rookie Killian Hayes was fouled with 9.4 seconds remaining, but he made just one of two free throws. Ball made his free throws at the other end, and Hayes missed a last-second 3-pointer.
Hamidou Diallo scored a career-high 35 points for Detroit.
The Hornets are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and are in solid shape to make it at least to the play-in round. They are two games behind seventh-place Boston.
Charlotte was without Miles Bridges, who was out because of health and safety protocols.
“I don’t know the extent, the days. We have not confirmed that yet,” coach James Borrego said before the game. “What that means, for us down the road, I don’t know. He is out tonight, and we’ll just take it from here.”
Terry Rozier scored 18 points for Charlotte and Caleb Martin added 17.
Sekou Doumbouya scored 20 points for the Pistons.
Detroit trailed by five in the final minute, but Diallo made a 3-pointer, and Hayes drew a foul after a Charlotte turnover.
Hornets: The Hornets were also without Devonte’ Graham (right knee), Gordon Hayward (right foot), Cody Martin (left ankle) and P.J. Washington (personal reasons).
Pistons: Diallo’s previous career high was 27. ... Wayne Ellington (calf), Jerami Grant (right knee), Josh Jackson (right tooth), Cory Joseph (left ankle), Rodney McGruder (right elbow), Mason Plumlee (rest) and Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee) were out.
Hornets: Host Chicago on Thursday night. The Bulls won both previous meetings this season.
Pistons: Host Memphis on Thursday night. Detroit lost to the Grizzlies 109-95 on Feb. 19.