NEW YORK, USA – The Detroit Pistons clinched the final ticket to the NBA playoffs Wednesday, April 10 (Thursday, Aprill 11, Manila time) sealing their first postseason berth since 2016 with a 115-89 defeat of the New York Knicks.
With Eastern Conference rivals the Charlotte Hornets losing to the Orlando Magic elsewhere in Wednesday's final round of regular season games, the Pistons would have advanced regardless of their result against the Knicks.
But the result against the team with the worst record in the NBA this season was never in doubt as Detroit moved into the lead before pulling away for a comfortable win.
Luke Kennard scored 27 points off the bench for Detroit, while starters Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson delivered 20-point displays to lead the Pistons into the postseason.
Drummond finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds while Jackson had 21 points and seven assists.
Detroit's reward for claiming the 8th and final seed in the Eastern Conference is a first round playoff duel with the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I want to congratulate each and every one of you." Go inside the locker room and hear Coach's message to the team after we secured our playoff spot. #DetroitBasketball pic.twitter.com/zAq10gCwia — x - Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) April 11, 2019
The result also represented vindication of sorts for head coach Dwane Casey, who has led the Pistons back to the postseason in his first year.
Casey, who was harshly fired by the Toronto Raptors last year despite a 59-win season, said his Detroit rebuilding plan was ahead of schedule.
"We're still in the growth process," Casey said afterwards. "We're ahead of the curve. This is the first step for us, for our young guys to experience the playoffs and to understand what it takes to get there and hopefully make some noise.
"It's a great first step for our organization and our fans. We're not where we want to be, but we're not where we were," he added. – Rappler.com