Tank Watch: Pistons receive help, more cushion to potentially keep pick

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday was a sad day for our Michigan and Michigan State brothers and sisters, but the Pistons (no game) had a good day.

SUNDAY

Michigan's only elite basketball teams went down on Sunday, but at least we didn't have to watch the Pistons play. Not only did the Pistons save us from having to watch them, they received some much needed help from their fellow tank artists. Three teams sandwiching the Pistons in the tankathon standings all won big ones, providing cushion between the Pistons and the spots below that could cost the team their 2014 first-round NBA draft pick.

Led by Dion Waiters' 19 points (on 20 shots) and Jarrett Jack's point guardy effort, Cleveland handled the Pacers, 90-76, to put three games between them and the Pistons at No. 8.

The Knicks can't quite figure out what they want to be - a lottery-bound team or a mat in the first round of the playoffs. They took a step in the direction of the playoffs on Sunday by beating the Warriors in Golden State, bringing them back within a game of the No. 8 spot for the playoffs. They are now 4.5 games ahead of the Pistons, so with only 8.5 games left in the season, they're removing themselves as a tank threat to the Pistons.

In the Sunday nightcap, which ended early Monday morning, the Lakers won their third straight home game by easily setting down the playoff-bound Suns. This is huge for the Pistons' chances in moving up the tank ladder, as the Lakers are now (the second team) only a game 'ahead' of the Pistons.

Other big games that didn't go the Pistons way on Sunday were the Utah (4) and Boston (5) games, but tankers can't be choosers, or something like that.

OPENING DAY TANK MONDAY

It's Opening Day for MLB, but it's also a big tank day. Below are the big games, in order of importance, and the corresponding rooting interests:

Milwaukee at Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET)

Root for: Milwaukee

Sacramento at New Orleans (8 p.m. ET)

Root hard for Sacramento (1 game 'up' on Pistons in No. 6 spot)

Boston at Chicago (8 p.m. ET)

Root for: Boston (3 games 'up' on Pistons in No. 5 spot)

New York at Utah (9 p.m. ET)

Root for: Utah (3.5 games 'up' on Pistons in No. 4 spot; Knicks are 4.5 behind Pistons and will probably win more down the stretch)

Now, your tank thoughts.

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