Say what you will about those fans who refuse to tank. Say what you will about those fans who refuse to give up hope on the playoffs until their team is officially eliminated from contention. You can keep saying it until tonight ... or Wednesday.
As it stands right now, the Pistons have five games left to their 2014-15 season. They are also five games behind (in the win column) the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics for the seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That means that with a single win by both of those clubs, the Pistons will be officially eliminated from the playoffs.
For any hope, the Pistons HAVE to win out.
The series season between the Nets and the Pistons is in favor of the Pistons. That means if in some way the Pistons were to finish the season with the same record as the Nets (and they were still in a playoff spot), the Pistons would be higher in the standings than them. For that to happen, not only do the Pistons need to win out, the Nets need to lose out. That seems highly unlikely as the Nets finish their season with a game at home against the Orlando Magic. Who cares if the five remaining games before that are at home against the Portland Trailblazers (tonight), the Atlanta Hawks (who will be without Paul Millsap), the Washington Wizards, away at the Milwaukee Bucks, and then home again against the Chicago Bulls. That game against Orlando could seal the deal between the Nets and the Pistons.
Right now the season series between the Celtics and the Pistons is tied at one a piece. Their next games are against each other at the Palace. That means that if the Nets lose to the Trailblazers tonight, the Pistons still could be eliminated on Wednesday with a loss to the Celtics.
The last time the Pistons and Celtics met was in Boston just over two weeks ago. It was a gutsy win by the Pistons in overtime, their third win in four games since Greg Monroe went down with a left knee strain. Statistically, the Pistons did not play so well only shooting 43.8%/34.6%/60.0%, being out-rebounded by three and allowing 42 points in the paint. Boston just played worse.
Now, if Boston does not beat the Pistons on Tuesday, provided none of their remaining opponents rest any of their players before the playoffs (highly unlikely), they have some stiff competition coming up. They first have a home-and-home with the Cleveland Cavaliers and follow that up with a back-to-back against the Toronto Raptors and then the Bucks.
Mind you, even if Boston were to lose out, the Pistons still have to win out. After the game with Boston, they then have the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats at home followed up by the Cavaliers and New York Knicks on the road. The game against the Cavaliers is the night after facing Charlotte.
Honestly, with the way the Pistons have played this year (erratic doesn't even cover it), the game that has me most concerned is the game against New York. Yes, the Pistons have won two of the three matchups this year, but with as bad as the Knicks have been, it should have been all three. But, after a 5-23 start, I am able to write this article about the Pistons STILL having a chance to make it into the Playoffs with five games remaining. To me, that's simply worth it.
Now, other teams also have a say in this as the Pacers, Miami Heat and Hornets all stand between us and the playoffs. The only team we do not hold the season series advantage over of those three is Charlotte, and we get one more crack at them on Sunday.
You can catch the game against the Celtics on ESPN Wednesday night at 7 PM.
I swear when I checked the splits it said that the Pistons had a season series of 2-1 against the Nets. However, after being informed to look again, I guess I may have had a quick bout of dyslexia. As such, the Pistons can only vie for the eighth seed and Brooklyn will have to be the seventh seed or higher. My apologies.