The Pistons beat the Celtics on Sunday, which put Detroit five games behind Boston for the final playoff spot 81 days into the season.
That might seem like the Pistons are in the thick of the playoff race.
Teams in that scenario – 81
games days into the season, at least five games out of the playoffs – almost always miss the playoffs. In fact, since the NBA adopted a 16-team playoff format, only the 1987-88 New York Knicks were five games out at this point of the season and made the playoffs, and they did it with a 38-44 record.
With 89 days left, the Pistons are hardly out of the playoff race, but based on history, their chances are extremely slim.