The Pistons are 26-52 and currently sitting in 4th in the Central Division. The Cavaliers are 24-53 and are 5th. Put another way, the Cavs have the 4th best lottery odds in the NBA and the Pistons have the 5th. A game and a half is between them with the Pistons only having four games remaining and the Cavs with five. They face off on Wednesday night.
Get your popcorn ready; it's going to be an epic showdown between middle-of-the-road lottery teams and divisional foes! (Both could conceivably catch the Suns at 23-55, but the Suns have lost 10 straight and appear to have no chance or interest of winning again this year.)
So, who wants it more (or less)?
The Cavs are coming off a game against the Pacers during which they were up 20 points with less than 10 minutes in the game and finished on the wrong end of a 33-8 run. At this point in the season, I honestly don't know how you can come back from that, but if there are a few ways -- and realistically there are -- one has to be to play these Pistons on the home floor.
The Pistons just ended a losing streak to a playoff-bound team that dated back to 2008 and have won five straight against the Cavs, but Jose Calderon is out and the team hasn't won two straight in over two months. In games after having 2-3 days rest, the Pistons are 2-9 this season and 7-29 as road underdogs (they're 1.5-point dogs).
But the Pistons love that fruitless strong finish, as if it carries into next season. After making the playoffs in 2008-2009, the Pistons started their now four-year lottery run by closing out the 2009-2010 season 4-2 after losing the previous 11 games. In 2010-2011, the Pistons had lost seven of eight before winning four of their last five. Last season, they finished the regular season 3-3, beginning with a convincing win against the Cavs. Including the Bulls win on Sunday, the Pistons are now 12-6 in season-waning, sometimes lottery killing games over the past four seasons.
Why not another on Wednesday behind, say, Brandon Knight outplaying Kyrie Irving again? Meaningless in the grand scheme, but momentarily fun. What's it going to be?