With just eight games remaining in the regular season, it’s now or never for the Detroit Pistons to make a push for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Coming off of a win at home on Monday night against the Lakers, Detroit now sits five games behind the Miami Heat, who currently possess the final ticket to the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
The addition of Reggie Jackson back into the lineup after missing three months with an ankle injury will give the Pistons the best possible chance at completing what seems like a daunting task with such few games left to play.
Since Jackson’s return to the team against the Phoenix Suns on March 20, the Pistons earned a 3-1 record, with the lone loss coming in overtime to arguably the league’s best team in the Houston Rockets.
Jackson had an impressive 20 points, adding five rebounds and three assists in Monday’s 112-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. In his four games back, Jackson is averaging 11.5 points while seeing a slow game-by-game increase in playing time.
The Pistons seemed to be all-in on a playoff run after grabbing Blake Griffin at the trade deadline. Since acquiring Griffin, the Pistons have struggled to string any sort of decent win-streak together, posting an 11-14 record since the trade. Especially considering the draft picks and other assets given up to acquire Griffin, Pistons fans may be left scratching their heads as to if this trade was all for nothing.
It won’t be an easy task for the Pistons to backdoor their way into the playoffs for just their second time since the 2009-2010 season, but stranger things have happened. Out of their final eight games, they will face three teams that currently hold a playoff spot, including the top team in the East in the Toronto Raptors. With an even split between road and home games, it seems that there is no room for error down the stretch.
The Pistons will definitely be looking for some help around the league as they try to close the gap with the Heat. The Heat have five of their last seven games at home, also having to face three current playoff teams including Toronto and Oklahoma City.
The Pistons’ playoff push will continue Thursday night as they host the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. EST at Little Caesars Arena.