Stanley Johnson and Langston Galloway got off to slow starts this season. That duo is now giving the Detroit Pistons a much-needed boost off the bench.
Johnson lost his starting job to Glenn Robinson III three games ago but has thrived on the second unit the past two games. He'll look to continue those contributions when the Pistons host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena.
Johnson, a fourth-year forward, shot 35.2 percent from the field, including 25 percent from 3-point range, while committing 16 turnovers in seven starts. In his last two games as a reserve, Johnson is averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals while going 7-for-15 on 3-point attempts.
Johnson had a season-high 22 points as the Pistons (7-5) overpowered the Atlanta Hawks 124-109 on Friday for their second straight win following a five-game losing streak. Johnson forced a couple first-half turnovers that led to fast-break layups. That sparked his big night.
"He did a solid job in that role off the bench defensively," coach Dwane Casey said. "The shooting was gravy and he hit some shots but that's not why I thought he was solid. I thought his defense and his attention to detail was good and that's the most important thing for us."
Galloway's 3-point shooting is his strength but he made only three of his 21 attempts from deep in October. He's regained the touch in four November games, averaging 15.5 points and draining 48.3 percent of his long-range shots.
"I'm just being patient and waiting on my team to find me, and just being confident," Galloway said. "I think that every shot is going in and (I'm) just going out there and having fun."
Galloway, a shooting guard, buried five 3s while scoring 16 points against the Hawks.
"That's what he does," Casey said. "You can never have too many shooters ... He's one of the guys that can knock them down and I thought he did a good job (Friday)."
The Hornets (6-6) lost a 133-132 overtime thriller to Philadelphia on Friday. All but one of their losses have been decided by four points or fewer.
"I thought there was a lot of growth there for our group tonight," first-year coach James Borrego said. "I know it's disappointing right now but my belief is that these close games are going to turn. They're going to turn in our direction."
Charlotte wasted a 63-point night from its bench, including four players in double figures. Shooting guard Dwayne Bacon, who didn't play in seven of the team's first 11 games, scored a season-high 15 points.
"The bench got us back in that game," Borrego said. "We got down big there in that third quarter. We went with a new bench lineup. Give Dwayne Bacon a lot of credit. He came in, sparked us, gave us great energy."
Sixers center Joel Embiid scored 42 points and Borrego was irritated that the officials awarded him 16 free throws during the fourth quarter and overtime.
"Everything we've been working on, in the game we executed tonight. And I thought our defense was fantastic," Borrego said. "They weren't even making shots. It was the free throw line that got us."