The Detroit Pistons started the month of February on the outside of the NBA Playoff picture but have an opportunity to improve their standing.
As February began, the Detroit Pistons found themselves a game and a half out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The season has been a disappointment so far as the team hasn’t taken the step forward so many expected after returning to the playoffs last season.
But for all the disappointment, all is not lost. The month of February brings an important opportunity if the Pistons are to make this anything other than a lost season. Things got off to a good start with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope going off for a career-high 38 points in a 118-98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Combined with a Charlotte Hornets loss last night, the Pistons moved to within a half game of the eight seed in the East. The Pistons are in striking distance of playoff position and have a favorable schedule to make a serious charge this month.
No one ahead of the Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings today has played as many road games as the Pistons’ 26. Entering February, the Pistons had played 22 home games and 26 road games but the pendulum now begins to swing the other way with eight road games and five road games this month.
This month carries plenty of importance off the court as well. The Pistons, without a representative in this year’s All-Star Game, will get a chance to rest over All-Star Weekend. The Pistons’ first game after the break also falls on the day of the trade deadline. If it will take a roster shakeup to propel the Pistons into the playoffs, it’s this month or never.
Can they take advantage? Time will tell, and consistency has hardly been a trait of this Pistons team. If the Pistons are going to return to the playoffs this season, don’t be surprised if we look back at what happened in February as a big reason why.