Postseason push: Will the Detroit Pistons make the playoffs? – USA TODAY

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With a little more than a month to go in the NBA regular season, we take a look at the teams fighting for their playoff lives.

Record: 31-31

Standing: No. 9 in Eastern Conference

Will make postseason if: They control The Palace. 

The Pistons will be at home for 12 of their remaining 20 games, so wins at The Palace of Auburn Hills are as crucial as ever in the coming weeks. With an 18-11 record at home this season and four of those losses coming against non-playoff teams, the Pistons have given fans their money’s worth, but the true test lies ahead …

Portland, Atlanta, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Miami — all current playoff teams — are headed to the Motor City before season’s end. Winning the majority — while not faltering against the non-playoff teams headed their way (Sacramento, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and Orlando) — is a necessity.

Will miss postseason if: They go on another losing streak. 

The Pistons have managed to do something that no other team ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings has done: 10 losing streaks of two or more games. Most recently, they suffered a five-game streak that spanned from early February to past the All-Star break, with three of those losses coming at the hands of teams not currently in the playoff standings (Denver, Washington, and New Orleans).

Detroit is in ninth place in the East, a game ahead of the Wizards and a half game behind the Bulls. In the tightly contested Eastern Conference race, another multiple-game skid would be detrimental for their postseason chances, as they have very little leeway to work with.

Wild card: Three-point shooting. 

The Pistons rank ninth in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (9.0) and 22nd in three-point percentage (34%). Not terrible, not great, but your run-of-the-mill perimeter shooting team. In wins and losses, those numbers tell a different story.

In their 31 wins this season, Detroit has made 10 threes per game at a 38.3% clip, which is good enough for ninth and 13th place amongst other teams in wins, respectively. In losses, those numbers drop to 7.9 a game at 29.7%, bringing those ranks down to 15th and 29th.

With Brandon Jennings (31.2% three-point shooter with Detroit this season) and Ersan Ilyasova (36.3%) traded away for Tobias Harris (40%),and Reggie Jackson looking to build on the best month of his career from beyond the arc (2.1 makes a game at 46.9%), the Pistons’ fortune from the perimeter has the potential to either make or break their postseason chances.

Our next team up: Charlotte Hornets (Monday).

Follow AJ Neuharth-Keusch on Twitter @tweetAJNK

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Postseason push: Will the Detroit Pistons make the playoffs? – USA TODAY

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