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The playoff push starts now: Favorable remaining schedule begins in Cleveland tonight

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers

Date: March 25,  2011

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 25-46

Cavs: 13-57

Probable starters

Pistons:

Cavs:

  • Ramon Sessions
  • Anthony Parker
  • Alonzo Gee
  • Samardo Samuels
  • J.J. Hickson

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons -1.5

Over/under: 200.5

Score: Pistons win, 101-99.5

Three things to watch

1. Bad final stretch for lottery position

The end of the season is near for the Pistons, but for fans hoping not to have a repeat of last year’s meaningless season-ending win streak that cost the Pistons a few lottery balls, the schedule isn’t going to cooperate. The Pistons play Cleveland (twice), Indiana (twice), Washington, New Jersey, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The only games against good teams are against Boston and Chicago. Now, it’s sill to assume the Pistons are better than any of those bad teams I just listed, but it’s also totally feasible for the Pistons to win seven or eight of those 11 games, which is sure to provide plenty of fodder for the, "OMG! Stop winning meaningless games!" crowd. Relax, though, everyone. Last year, things worked out OK. The Pistons may slipped back in the draft, but still may have ended up with the second best player in the draft in Greg Monroe.

2. Stopping Ramon Sessions

There are no bright spots for the Cavs this season, but Sessions has finally got the chance at a full-time starting job, and he’s been pretty good. On top of that, he always shreds the Pistons. In eight games vs. Detroit in his career, Sessions is averaging nearly 18 points per game, his highest scoring average against any team.

3. Manny Harris still seeing time

For an undrafted free agent, Manny Harris has been a pretty sound fine for the Cavs. He’s probably not a future All-Star, but he at least looks like he’ll be a reliable backup in the NBA. He’s only shooting 39 percent on the season, but he started off in a pretty bad shooting slump, and his 38 percent 3-point shooting is a decent mark considering he hit that shot inconsistently at Michigan.

Pregame Reading

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