While the Detroit Pistons are as deep in the basement as they can, but are still able to play spoiler down the stretch.
They gave the Miami Heat all they could handle for 43 minutes last night and have another chance to make things uncomfortable for an Eastern Conference playoff hopeful in the Brooklyn Nets, who are one game ahead of Miami and subsequently avoiding the play-in tournament — for now.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +11
If you’ve been shielding yourself from the Detroit Pistons by compartmentalizing each loss with the idea that it’s all good because it helps them tank for the best possible draft, you’re gonna have to change things up.
The Pistons loss last night, combined with the Rockets win over the Denver Nuggets, locked up the best possible odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery.
They have the same 14% chance at Victor Wembanyama as the Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, but the furthest they can fall in the draft is No. 5, which would still be a tragedy after the season we’ve endured, but I guess it could also be worse, right?
It’s weird. I understand rooting for the losses, but I also think any healthy sports fan needs wins. Success, however small, is what keeps us excited. I love watching Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren do their thing, but sometimes I do wish we saw it lead to wins... considering that’s the end goal, after all.
Last year, we saw Cade Cunningham do both. He put up huge numbers and led the Pistons to wins down the stretch. They flirted with a .500 record in the final two months of last season, giving real hope to a fanbase that needed it.
This year, it’s been the opposite. Many have devolved into a broken record of LOSSES GOOD CUZ TANK GOOD and now that security blanket is gone.
We’ve got three games left — tonight’s home finale against the Brooklyn Nets, at the Indiana Pacers on Friday and at the Chicago Bulls on Sunday — and, good lord, would it be nice to see them luck into even just one win.
It’s going to be tough tonight against Brooklyn, led by the resurgent Mikal Bridges, but not impossible. I was pleasantly surprised with how Detroit played against Miami last night and these Nets, as fun as they’ve been with Bridges morphing into a 30-a-night bucket getter, are prone to really playing like crap for stretches.
The Pistons will likely be without Isaiah Livers, but getting a win in the home finale would be significant. They’d avoid the infamy of tying the 1980 team for the worst record in franchise history and they’d give the home fans — who, admittedly, have shown reasonable apathy in recent weeks — one final win.
The tanking is over. They can tank no further.
Go win a freaking game.
Detroit Pistons (16-63)
Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, Eugene Omoruyi, Jalen Duren, James Wiseman
Brooklyn Nets (43-36)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Royce O’Neal, Nic Claxton
Question of the Day
Are you relieved that the tank is finally over? Or did it make watching all of these losses hurt a little bit less as a fan?