Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/7

Game 1: Friday, November 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 31st
Game 3: Wednesday, April 1st
Game 4: Friday, April 10th

Nets 93

(32-47, 15-25 away)

Pistons 100

(39-40, 21-19 home)

    Coverage: YES

    8:00 PM ET, April 10, 2009

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 20 18 30 2593
    DET 27 27 24 22100

    Top Performers

    NJ: B. Lopez 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Blk

    Det: W. Bynum 20 Pts, 1 Reb, 4 Ast

    Nets-Pistons Preview


    The Detroit Pistons have reached at least the Eastern Conference finals for six consecutive seasons. Now they just want to make sure they qualify for the playoffs.

    The Pistons look to clinch a postseason berth Friday night when they host the New Jersey Nets, the team they eliminated from contention their last time out.

    Detroit (38-40) leads ninth-place Charlotte by three games with four to play. The Pistons secured the head-to-head tiebreaker in the season series by beating the Bobcats 104-97 on Sunday, meaning a win Friday or a loss by Charlotte at Oklahoma City will earn Detroit a postseason spot. The Pistons also are battling Chicago for the seventh seed.

    Despite being on the brink of their eighth consecutive playoff appearance, the Pistons haven't resembled the team that made the East finals for six consecutive years with two NBA finals appearances and one title (2004). If they don't win all of their final four games, they will fail to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2000-01.

    "We know we're a lot better. We let a lot of games slip away this year, we'll take any seed though," Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey said. "I think our main focus right now is getting into the playoffs and just getting in the groove before we get there."

    Detroit appeared worthy of a playoff spot Wednesday, beating New York 113-86 for its most lopsided victory of the season. That win also meant New Jersey (32-46) can't catch the Pistons or Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot.

    Injuries have played a role in Detroit's sub-par season, but Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace appear to be shaking off their nagging ailments.

    Hamilton is averaging 19.6 points in six games since missing six with a groin injury. He scored 22 points on 10-for-18 shooting while handing out seven assists Wednesday.

    Wallace shot 6-for-10 from the floor for 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Knicks in his best performance in three games since sitting out 12 of 13 contests with a strained left calf, including a 111-98 loss at New Jersey on April 1.

    Hamilton, however, scored 29 points in that contest.

    "Rasheed and (Hamilton) continue to get in better and better shape so they're shooting the ball a lot better, and their movement is a lot better," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "The guys are understanding that now that we have everybody healthy, that we have a good balance to play out on the perimeter, set pick and rolls and also going into the post, and we're going to need to do that more, as we head into the playoffs."

    Detroit has lost two of three season meetings with New Jersey but has won five consecutive home matchups, including an 83-75 victory on Dec. 31. The Pistons haven't lost the season series since dropping three of four meetings in 1993-94.

    The Nets may use that as motivation as they attempt to rebound from Wednesday's 106-104 loss at Boston.

    "To fall short is just disappointing," Nets swingman Vince Carter said of the club missing the playoffs. "I think people were picking us to be last in the league -- in the East, period. We showed otherwise."

    Carter had 33 points and 12 rebounds against the Celtics after totaling 40 points and 17 boards over the previous four -- two wins. He hasn't been much of a factor in three games against the Pistons, averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds.