The Pistons are at Indiana on Saturday, home against the Bulls on Monday and in Miami for their season finale on Wednesday. The No. 5 seed is mathematically still a possibility, albeit an unlikely one. But if the Pistons win out, the No. 6 seed (and the preferable first-round matchup with Orlando, Detroit's whipping boy the last few years) is potentially feasible.
The 76ers, currently seeded sixth, are losers of four straight and still have to play both Boston and Cleveland for two of their last three games of the season. It's possible the Celtics or Cavs might concede an upset by pulling their starters in anticipation of the playoffs, but that's hardly a guarantee considering both of those contenders would likely prefer the Pistons to face the Magic in the first round than dealing with the Pistons themselves.
Regardless of what happens, Monday's game against the seventh-seeded Bulls should be a battle. Like Detroit, the Bulls have won three in a row, and they've also taken two of three from the Pistons. That said, they're also one of the worst teams in the league on the road, having won just 12 of 40 games away from the United Center all season.
Some Magic fans might enjoy this news, because a first-round matchup with Detroit would give Orlando another chance to get the monkey off its back, so to speak, against its nemesis. I've made it abundantly clear that I disagree with this point of view. The Pistons swept the Magic this year, beat them 6 times in 9 tries last year, and 8 times in 8 tries the year before that. The less we see of the Pistons, the better.
Good news: Marc Stein of ESPN.com and Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic voted Dwight Howard as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, with Stein also voting Stan Van Gundy as the league's Coach of the Year.
Bad news: Stein reports that the Sacramento Kings may pursue Hedo Turkoglu in free-agency this summer. Turk spent the first 3 years of his career with the Kings, who selected him 16th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft. However, Stein notes that the Kings may choose not to spend much money in free-agency this summer. If they do, though, expect Turk to be one of their top targets.
Orlando Magic News for April 11th: Good-and-Bad Edition
By Evan Dunlap
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