Race for 8: Pistons host Bobcats

Essentials

  • Teams: Charlotte Bobcats (23-30) at Detroit Pistons (22-30)
  • Date: February 18, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons will host the Charlotte Bobcats tonight in a matchup of playoff hopefuls. The Bobcats are clinging to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Pistons are right on their heels.

Both units play tonight and tomorrow in a home-and-home set that will either make the playoff race more compelling or pretty much boring. In the event Charlotte wins both contests, it will create some separation between the teams that might hold up for the remainder of the season.

Sounds preposterous right?

And yet, it’s fairly accurate. Charlotte and Detroit have played two of the easiest schedules in the league (based on opponent winning percentage) through the first half of 2013-14, but the rest of the campaign is slightly tougher.

Both teams will face stiffer competition, and the Bobcats hold the edge in remaining home games. 15 of Charlotte’s final 29 games will be played in the state of North Carolina, whereas Detroit will play 13 of their final 30 contests at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

It gets a bit worse.

The Pistons have a four-game western road trip with stops at the houses of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. On the flip side, The Bobcats’ biggest road trip the rest of the way has them playing at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics.

Yikes!

Oh and by the way, Charlotte currently holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with Detroit by virtue of a December 20 victory at the Palace. After trailing through much of that contest, the Bobs turned to Al Jefferson in the fourth quarter, and he morphed into Hakeem Olajuwon.

Jefferson went to the low block and terrorized Detroit’s interior defenders. He dropped 15 fourth-quarter points on 7-of-11 shooting. It’s a little weird to call a set of February games important, but make no mistake, that’s exactly the case.

In the event Detroit can sweep this home-and-home set, the Pistons obtain the tiebreaker at the expense of the Bobcats and place themselves in a relatively decent position to make the playoffs.

Read about the Bobcats

Queen City Hoops.

Tags: Charlotte Bobcats THN-CHA