Pistons driving to secure home court edge in playoffs
Posted: Friday April 7, 2006 4:56PM; Updated: Friday April 7, 2006 5:39PM
With less than two weeks to go in the regular season, the playoff races are at a fever pitch. The Bulls and Sixers are fighting for the No. 8 spot in the East. The Lakers, Kings, Hornets and Jazz are battling it out for the final two spots in the West. Meanwhile, teams in the middle are jockeying for position.
The most significant race by far is at the top, for the NBA's best overall record. The Pistons are close to wrapping it up, which would be a major boon to their title hopes. A healthy Detroit team would be extremely tough to beat in any potential Game 7 at the Palace.
This week's high riser: Bulls (No. 16 from 20) This week's big drop: Pacers (No. 18 from 14)
Wednesday's loss to the Kings snapped their four-game win streak and dealt a blow to their hopes of catching Detroit. But they can all but clinch the West's No. 1 seed with a victory over the Mavs on Friday.
They're not only closing in on their first playoff berth since 1996-97. With back-to-back victories over division leaders Denver and Phoenix, they're also playing as if they intend to stick around in the postseason for awhile, too.
With 83 victories as Grizzlies coach, Mike Fratello has already tied Hubie Brown for most in franchise history. But no matter how hard he tries, he'll never pass him for best hairstyle in franchise history.
Without Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ankle), they lost at New York on Wednesday to snap their nine-game win streak. However, Z should be back soon, and the return of Larry Hughes (finger) has made them whole again.