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Pistons vs. Nets Preview: Detroit streaking as season comes to end

Two teams on the second end of a back to back -- what could go wrong?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons enter tonight’s game against the the Brooklyn Nets, 4.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Detroit has won six of it’s last seven games, while the Heat have dropped three of their last five games. Unfortunately it’s too little, too late, with only six games remaining on their schedule. The Pistons’ odds have almost zeroed out, as they clinch onto less than a percentage point chance at sneaking into the dance, per ESPN’s BPI.

With that being said, it’s been an enjoyable last couple of weeks for the Pistons, who have won by an average 14.3 points per game in their last six victories.

Game Vitals

When: Sunday, April 1st, 6:00 p.m. EST

Where: The Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Watch: Fox Sports +, NBA League Pass

Odds: Detroit -1

Analysis

The Brooklyn Nets will be one of the final teams on Detroit’s schedule that’s not actively trying to lose, in order to better their draft pick, since this year’s pick belongs to Cleveland. The Nets won’t escape Danny Ainge’s sadistic trade until next season.

This will be the first game of the year where we’ll see Reggie Jackson and D’Angelo Russell duel it out in the starting line-up. Russell has averaged 16.1 points, 5.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game, in his last 15 games. He’s also shooting 38% from three on 6.6 attempts during that stretch.

Jackson has been looking stronger and stronger which each game under his belt. Over his last three games he’s averaged 16.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3 rebounds per game, on 42% shooting from the floor, in 27 minutes per game. Unfortunately for Detroit, they’ll once again be without Blake Griffin, who’ll be out at least another couple of games with a bone bruise to his ankle. Griffin’s injury is unfortunate; Detroit would love to see as many games with Jackson, Griffin and Drummond before the season’s end. This threesome is the key to future Pistons’ success, and the larger the sample size of games they have together, the better.

One player to keep your eye on for today’s game is Henry Ellenson, who’s finally seen some run in Detroit’s last three games. Ellenson has averaged 6 points, 3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 12 minutes per game. He’s brought a new found confidence to the floor, and has played with energy in each of Detroit’s last three wins. The Pistons have waited for Ellenson to blossom into a role player since they drafted the big man out of Marquette in the 2016 draft. Hopefully he’ll continue to develop and be a key part to Detroit’s success next season.

Projected Lineups

Detroit - Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Andre Drummond, Anthony Tolliver, Stanley Johnson

Brooklyn - D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Jarrett Allen, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Predicition

Detroit keeps the hot streak alive, 108-101