29 Important Games
They’ve reached the point where they can’t afford to lose many, if any, winnable games. Beyond that, they’ll probably need to steal a win or two from the column heading of improbable wins.
So every game is important – some are just more important than others.
Among the latter category are each of the nine games remaining against the four other contenders for the last two remaining playoff positions.
Over the last few weeks, Philadelphia and Indiana have positioned themselves as the favorites for those spots, while Charlotte gave itself a stay of execution by going 4-2 on a six-game road trip – ending with a win at The Palace that the Pistons will put high on the list of games to rue should they fall short in their playoff bid. The Pistons and Milwaukee, meanwhile, have treaded water, playing just well enough to stay alive but failing to capitalize on opportunities to enhance their standing.
Here are a few key points in considering how the final nine weeks of the NBA regular season will play out for the Pistons:
But that means they have to win all of the games they should and some they won’t be favored to win. At 20-33, a 16-13 finish would get the Pistons to 36-46. Would that be enough? Not according to ESPN.com’s projections, which actually have Philly finishing with 42 wins and leapfrogging the Knicks, projected as the No. 7 seed with 41 wins, and Indiana nabbing the No. 8 spot with 39 wins.
But the Pistons can have a lot to say about that. Among their 29 remaining games, they might all be important, but the four left with the Pacers are especially critical.
Here’s a more detailed look at the remaining schedules of the five teams currently in the 7-11 spots in the Eastern Conference:
PHILADELPHIA – 30 remaining games (16 home/14 road); 13 games against winning teams, (7 home/6 road); 17 games against losing teams, (9 home/8 road).
INDIANA – 32 remaining games (16 home/16 road); 15 games against winning teams, (7 home/8 road; 17 games against losing teams, (9 home/8 road).
CHARLOTTE – 30 remaining games (15 home/15 road); 17 games against winning teams, (6 home, 11 road); 13 games against losing teams, (9 home/4 road).
MILWAUKEE – 31 remaining games (18 home/13 road); 14 games against winning teams (6 home/8 road); 17 games against losing teams (12 home/5 road).
DETROIT – 29 remaining games (16 home/13 road); 13 games against winning teams (8 home/5 road); 16 games against losing teams (8 home/8 road).