The Detroit Pistons’ latest victory not only snapped a three-game losing streak, but helped move them closer to clinching their eighth consecutive postseason berth.
On Wednesday night, the visiting Pistons look to build off that win while trying to avoid a third consecutive loss to the New York Knicks.
Detroit’s 104-97 home win over Charlotte on Sunday was just the Pistons’ sixth victory in 17 games, but it also gave them some breathing room over the Bobcats in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
With five games remaining, Detroit (37-40) owns the eighth and final postseason spot and is 2 1/2 games ahead of the ninth-place Bobcats. The Pistons, who are one-half game behind seventh-place Chicago, own the tiebreaker over Charlotte.
Though Detroit’s run of seven-straight 50-win seasons will end, the Pistons hope to end a frustrating campaign on a positive note and carry some momentum into the playoffs.
“We’re approaching these games knowing we have to take care of business.” first-year coach Michael Curry told the Pistons’ official Web site. “I just want to be as good as we can be going in.”
The Pistons can start by trying to avoid a fourth straight road loss while looking to even the season series with New York (30-48), which fell 110-103 at Chicago on Tuesday for its 11th loss in 13 games.
Detroit, which has lost seven of nine on the road, fell 104-92 at New York on Dec. 7, and 116-111 in overtime at home to the Knicks on March 11.
Richard Hamilton had 27 points with nine rebounds and eight turnovers against the Knicks last month. Tayshaun Prince added 25 with 10 boards and Antonio McDyess had 21 and 22 rebounds for Detroit in that contest.
Hamilton scored 13 on Sunday before he was ejected at the end of the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul. Reserve guard Will Bynum stepped up with a career-high 32 points on 9-for-15 shooting for the Pistons, who averaged 87.0 points and shot 39.7 percent during their three-game skid.
Bynum, who scored a franchise-record 26 in the fourth quarter, could be a valuable asset for Detroit down the stretch and in the playoffs since disgruntled star Allen Iverson was shut down for the season with a back injury.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” said Bynum, a second-year pro who’s averaging 6.7 points. “I could have sat on the bench and scored two points and I still would have been up cheering, trying to get this win. We definitely needed that game.”
Prince is averaging 21.0 points and 7.3 rebounds against the Knicks this season.
New York’s Nate Robinson had 30 points last month against Detroit, but was held to six against the Bulls. Wilson Chandler had 26 and Al Harrington added 23 on Tuesday for the Knicks, who had 18 turnovers.
“Instead of us having seven or eight turnovers down the stretch, if we got seven or eight shots and we make two or three of them, we win the basketball game,” Harrington said of the Knicks, who will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season.
New York, which has lost eight of its last 10 at Madison Square Garden, hasn’t won a season series with Detroit since 2000-01.