The Pistons were able to match the Pacers' new found high-octane offense step for step. Tayshaun Prince broke out of a nominal slump to lead the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The result, the Pistons score an overtime win, and head into the all-star break with a W over the team they need to catch for the eight seed.
Is it likely that the Pistons can overcome a 4.5 game deficit in just 1/3rd of a season? Well, the Pacers are breaking at the wrong time. They have been on fire under their new coach, but once that effect wears off, they'll be back to being slightly below average as usual.
But other teams are going to be chasing that spot as well. Milwaukee is only 3.5 games back, and has three more home games than away games remaining on the schedule. Charlotte also has a new coach, and is only one game back.
And it's not like the Pistons are going to suddenly turn into the Miami Heat. Their best case scenario is to gut lucky in coin-flip games (like Wednesday's) and .500 basketball. If they do, they might go 16-9, which would make them competitive for a slot.
But is it worth it? Maybe. Yes, the Pistons will lose lottery balls. Last year, that would have meant settling for Cole Aldrich instead of Greg Monroe, but those results aren't typical. In reality, the difference between number eight and number twelve is likely to be nominal.
The Pistons will have some free agent money to play with, and a strong finish might entice good players to join a core of Monroe, Stuckey, and Daye. Plus, it would be nice to see what those guys can do in some competitive games.
And, really, isn't it more fun to have something to root for other than lottery balls?
Elsewhere in the NBA
This weekend represents some sort of inexplicable hiatus for the league. I'll assume this is the fault of the NBA schedulers.
Oh, right... All-star weekend. Matt Watson will be out there for the festivities, so let's all collectively put some pressure on him to get some coverage, eh?
Tune in tonight to watch Moose single-handedly destroy the Tyreke Evans and the Sophomores.