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Detroit secured its spot with a 115-89 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Pistons endured incredible highs and agonizing lows in their quest to reach the playoffs. They looked like one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference with a 13-7 record after 20 games.
Of course, that was a familiar position for Pistons fans. They started 14-6 in 2017-18 before losing 37 of their final 62 games to miss the postseason.
This campaign looked to be following a similar arc, as the Pistons lost six straight games and fell to .500 after that hot start.
Following a 95-92 loss to the Denver Nuggets on March 26 that left Detroit’s record at 37-37, Blake Griffin told reporters the team needed that kind of game to help it through this crucial late-season push:
“A game like this is a good test for us. Being this close to the end of the regular season, this close to the playoffs, I see guys come out here and fight and that’s going to be my message to everyone.
“This time last year we were on the outside looking in, four or five games out of the playoffs. I can’t say this is where we want to be. We want to be higher than this, but a chance to lay this foundation in [head coach Dwane] Casey’s first year, it’s a good place for us to be and a good test for us.”
The Pistons banded together after that moment to earn a spot as one of the eight teams in the Eastern Conference competing for a spot in the NBA Finals. Casey has them playing excellent defense at the right time. They currently rank 12th in defensive rating, per NBA.com.
Any team capable of disrupting shots by the opposing team will have a chance to win. The Pistons are trending in the right direction and have now locked down their spot in the postseason.