Olynyk, Pistons slide past Hornets with overtime buzzer-beater

Detroit Pistons forward Kelly Olynyk scores the game winning basket over Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington during overtime in an NBA basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

CHARLOTTE — Facing a one-point deficit Sunday night in Charlotte, Detroit center Kelly Olynyk hit a fadeaway jump shot as time expired in overtime to hand the stunned Hornets a 127-126 loss.

Olynyk finished with 20 points off the bench for the Pistons (15-46), with none more important than his final shot that ended Charlotte’s 15-game winning streak against Detroit.

“We made some big shots and they made some big shots. They just made one more than us,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We just have to close it out and you have to make one of those plays. It isn’t anything tricky here — one rebound, one stop, one free throw, one shot. We continue to put ourselves in position to win games.”

The Hornets (30-32) built a five-point overtime lead that was cut to one point as Jerami Grant scored a layup at the 1:29 mark. With just under seven seconds left on the clock, Grant snatched a loose ball — following a jump ball between Isaiah Stewart and P.J. Washington — to set up Olynyk’s heroic shot. 

Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 33 points and five rebounds, while Miles Bridges added 29 points and 10 rebounds. LaMelo Ball had 17 points and seven assists. 

“We don’t have any choice but to move on,” Rozier said. “There are a lot of things we could have done differently, but I feel that it all came down to effort plays at the end. My hat goes off to them because I don’t want to take anything away from their effort.”

Saddiq Bey scored a team-high 28 points with eight rebounds for Detroit as Grant provided 26 points and Cade Cunningham notched 19 points. 

Holding the ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, Charlotte sits right on the edge of the playoff cut line. The team has acknowledged that every game is important with only 20 remaining on thd schedule. An overtime home loss to the 14th-place Pistons isn’t exactly what the Hornets had in mind after defeating the seventh-place Raptors (32-27) by 32 points just two nights earlier. 

With Sunday’s results, the Hornets are now 0-7 in overtime games this season including three that have taken place within the last four contests.

“It’s very frustrating because we knew we needed this one, but Kelly Olynyk made a tough shot,” Bridges said. “But we’ve got another one in less than 24 hours so we’ve got to focus on that one. … They just played harder than us so they deserved to win this game.”

Charlotte will travel to Milwaukee (35-26) for an 8 p.m. game Monday against the defending NBA champions. The third-place Bucks have lost four of their past five games after winning four in a row.