Game Preview: Playoff Hopes Dwindling, Pistons Face Wizards at Home

USP NBA: DETROIT PISTONS AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS S BKN USA NC

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy knows his playoff hopes are dim, but at least he didn’t have to watch the Tigers play Thursday. (Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports)

As the Detroit Pistons (34-40) get ready for game number 75 on their season, the playoffs look more and more unlikely. So unlikely, in fact, that it is not even worth thinking about. Letting that pressure go may actually be beneficial for the Pistons. Washington (41-33), on the other hand, has something to play for tonight.

The Wizards are not only looking to sweep the season series against Detroit, but they clinch a playoff spot with a victory. The first three wins against the Pistons came before Blake Griffin was traded to Motown, so the layout is a little different. Washington was hoping to get star point guard John Wall back from injury, but he is listed as doubtful at the time of this writing. It is safe to say he will not play, though he did travel with the team

The same cannot be said with the Pistons. Detroit is enjoying having their point guard back with Reggie Jackson, even if his numbers are not otherworldly. The Pistons are 3-1 since Jackson’s return, despite the level of competition in those three wins being…subpar. Those victories were against the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers…three teams who will not be in the playoffs. Technicalities aside, the Pistons are a vastly more watchable team if Jackson is playing well. His last two games, both wins, Reggie Jackson has averaged 17.5 points, four rebounds, and two assists per game on 44% shooting.

Detroit is five-games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference, with only eight games left to play. It would take a multitude of things to happen for the Pistons to sneak into the playoffs, though winning out would definitely help.

Washington is coming off of a nice 116-106 victory over the injured San Antonio Spurs, but lost three straight prior. Those were fairly ugly losses too, getting handed L’s by the reeling Denver Nuggets, heavily tanking New York Knicks, and aforementioned Spurs. A loss to a mediocre Pistons squad would be a step in the wrong direction for the Wizards.

If John Wall returns, he may be the most interesting player to watch. The Wizards should play better with their best player back and fighting alongside them. If Wall sits, the Pistons may have an advantage at point guard with Jackson playing better of late. The second-most unwatchable MLB team in the Detroit Tigers were rained out on Opening Day (an ominous microcosm of a season, if I have ever seen one) so the Pistons will have to do. No need to mention the Re* Wings.

(Featured Image by Vince Ellis/Detroit Free Press)

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