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Pistons vs. Knicks preview: New York struggling, but still dangerous

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With the playoffs on the line, every game counts as Detroit enters the season's final stretch.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

21 games remain for the Pistons this season.

Six teams are competing for the bottom for spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs, separated by just 2.5 games. And even the current three and four seeds couldn't feel confident about surviving an untimely losing streak.

Every game counts.

Vitals

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: 7 p.m. ET
Watch: FS Detroit

Analysis

The Knicks have been on a nosedive for the past month and a half. They've gone as a fringe playoff contender with a .500 record to dropping deeper and deeper among the league's worst teams. Since sitting at .500, they've lost 15 of their past 18 games.

And you can't chalk it up to tanking. They don't get their first round pick this season anyway, as it'll be heading to either Denver or Toronto. They've just been bad.

The Pistons last met the Knicks early in their slide on February 4. It had the look of a laugher, with the Pistons carrying a 20+ point lead for much of the first half. But Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez carried the Knicks back, even taking the lead with just two minutes to go. It was thanks to Reggie Jackson heroics that saved the Pistons from an embarrassing collapse.

So despite their struggles, the Pistons certainly can't afford to look past the Knicks.

Players to Watch

Andre Drummond versus Robin Lopez: In two games against the Pistons this season, Robin Lopez is averaging 18.5 points on 73 percent shooting with 11.5 rebounds and 3 blocks. Drummond is averaging 15 points on 44 percent true shooting and 11 rebounds against the Knicks.

Lopez has had Drummond's number so far this season. By all appearances, it seems to be a matter of effort - that Lopez has outworked Drummond in the paint. Hopefully Drummond can respond.

Starting Lineup

Detroit: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

New York: Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Robin Lopez

Community Question?

Knicks would currently be positioned for the 8 pick in the draft, well, for the pick they traded away. Where do you think they'll end the season?

By the way, that pick was traded out for Andrea Bargnani. The Knicks also still owe next year's second round pick from that trade.