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Pistons Links: No. 7 seed is better than No. 8, Reggie Jackson, and more

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That time of the year is closing in and it's called playoff time. YES, seriously, playoff time in Pistonsland! It's happening! Links ahead!

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

He's clutch: Pistons' Reggie Jackson comes through when needed most -- Detroit Free Press

Reggie is still the illest in the league when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter (below numbers updated as of early Saturday morning). He's been a BAD MAN this season indeed.

Dropping daggers

No player in the NBA has scored more points in clutch time --€” defined as the final five minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime with the teams separated by five points or less --€” than Reggie Jackson. The five players with the most clutch time points, entering Saturday:

Reggie Jackson, Pistons

176

James HardenRockets

172

Paul GeorgePacers

150

Isaiah ThomasCeltics

144

Kevin DurantThunder

144

Author Vince Ellis looks at the 'toll' the heavy minutes have had on Reggie:

The increase in minutes are taking a toll, and Jackson doesn't have the same explosiveness he had earlier this season.

But Jackson wanted this.

"First year as a starter and trying to deal with it coming down the stretch," Jackson said. "The body doesn't feel the same as it did years ago in a different role, but it's mind over matter. You tell yourself you're OK and you keep pushing.

"Of course you feel more bruises here and there and more dings, but you just try to tell yourself you're OK. You continue to do that, you're pretty well off."

Detroit Pistons' Stan Van Gundy wants higher seed in playoffs -- Detroit Free Press

Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy said with a playoff berth clinched, he isn't going to rest players over the final two regular-season games.

"Look, both those teams are really good, Toronto and Cleveland," Van Gundy said. "I'm of the mind-set that you always want to finish as high as you can finish. It's not a matter of I'd rather play Toronto, I don't want to play Cleveland. I just, if you have a choice of finishing seventh or eighth, seventh sounds better. That's the way I am. I've never really coached a game that I didn't care if we won or lost. I've just never been in that situation.

Playoff spot secured, Pistons now look to go into postseason on a roll -- Pistons.com

Either the Cavaliers or Raptors will be favored to win, of course, but the Pistons aren't going to be a typical seventh or eighth seed. With 43 wins and the chance to get to 45, the Pistons are already ahead of the average wins total for the East's No. 7 seed over the last 10 full NBA seasons (41.4). That falls to 39 wins for the average No. 8 seed.

And with a winning percentage of .667 since Harris joined the lineup, even 43 wins might undersell the Pistons in their current configuration. They wanted to get to the playoffs with some momentum and it appears that will be the case.

Speaking of momentum entering the playoffs -- I don't know that it makes a difference. Sure, it can't hurt anything to win most of your games heading into the playoffs, which obviously has been essential for this particular Pistons group to feel good about themselves (which is positive), though when that first playoff game tips off the opponent is set in stone and they will have already watched loads of film on you, game planned for you ad nauseam and thus should know you inside and out. At a certain point the players just want to go out and play ball. It's a new season, a new set of expectations and, as we know from what seems like dozens of years ago, a new level of intensity. Experience counts too, and Detroit doesn't have a ton of it.

Yashinsky: Pistons v. LeBron - The (Potential) Match from Hell -- Deadline Detroit

When a guy takes his team to the championship round for five consecutive years, the chances of his squad suddenly getting trounced in the first round are next to none.  Those first series are just a tuneup for LeBron.  Consider these past opening playoff "battles":

2015 - LeBron (Cavs) defeats Celtics 4-0

2014 - LeBron (Heat) defeats Bobcats 4-0

2013 - LeBron (Heat) defeats Bucks 4-0

2012 - LeBron (Heat) defeats Knicks 4-1

2011 - LeBron (Heat) defeats 76ers 4-1

2010 - LeBron (Cavs) defeats Bulls 4-1

2009 - LeBron (Cavs) defeats Will Bynum (Pistons) 4-0

You get the point.  Being a first-round opponent for the team LeBron James plays for doesn't just mean you will lose.  It means you will lose, and lose badly.

So while the Pistons can trumpet their 2-1 record this year against Cleveland, it means zilch once you enter postseason play.  Stan Van Gundy's crew gets the Cavs in the season finale down in Ohio, and that could wind up being a must-win to avoid seeing that same team again just a couple days later.

The Raptors haven't been too good at this playoff thing and LeBron James has been solid, by many people's definitions. While I'm confident Detroit will not get swept in either series, the Raptors present a more winnable series -- and we've gone over why here at DBB in quite a few comment sections. But, we could easily just say it's because the Raptors don't have LeBron James. Done.

Indiana Pacers clinch playoff berth

How about rookie Myles Turner, leading Indiana with 28 points in an easy win over Brooklyn on Sunday, clinching their postseason berth.

Here's more from Indy Cornrows:

The Pacers move back into 7th with the win, sitting tied with Detroit at 43-37 while holding the tiebreaker. The Pacers will tip their penultimate regular season game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, the same night the Pistons host Miami. Indiana's magic number to clinch the 7th seed now sits at 2, which puts them in control of their own destiny for who they may want to see in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

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It's up to you, boys and girls, to make Monday your fun day! Let's go Monday!