Playoffs or Lottery: Game vs. New Jersey will show which Detroit Pistons’ direction

Essentials

Teams: New Jersey Nets at Detroit Pistons

Date: Feb. 4, 2011

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 17-32

Nets: 15-35

Probable starters

Pistons:

Nets:

  • Devin Harris
  • Stephen Graham
  • Travis Outlaw
  • Derrick Favors
  • Brook Lopez

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons -3.0

Over/under: 186.5

Score: Pistons win, 94.75-91.75

Three things to watch

1. New Jersey is beatable, except they haven’t been.

Gordon talked to the Freep’s Vince Ellis after the Charlotte game and had this to say:

“We looked at last night’s game like that, especially being tied with the Bobcats. We wanted to try to get that win. We didn’t, but a team like New Jersey is another team that’s an opponent we can definitely beat."

Maybe. But the Pistons haven’t done it this season, losing a close game to open the season and playing terrible in a double-digit loss to the Nets in January. It would be nice to assume that teams like NJ are "beatable" for the Pistons, but unfortunately, we can’t.

2. Are the players losing hope?

Despite the losses this season, Detroit’s players have openly talked like a team that expects to make the playoffs. Until now. Prince and Will Bynum both voiced their frustrations to Terry Foster of the Detroit News:

"You want to be positive and say there is hope, but things keep happening over and over again," Bynum said. "What are you supposed to say? Hopefully it gets better, but it doesn’t look like it."

That, frankly, doesn’t sound like a team poised to make a run at the very attainable eighth seed in the East. And, with the Pistons now five games out, it’s probably time to stop acting like that spot is so attainable for them.

3. Can the Nets get back in it?

Since a six-game losing streak in early January, the Nets are 5-4. Not that impressive, I’ll give you that, but when you consider that NJ has won just 27 games the last season and a half, any stretch in which they’ve played .500+ ball is a positive. And if they beat the Pistons, they get just a tad closer to pretending like they are playoff contenders.

Pregame Reading

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