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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)
Detroit Pistons (29-52) at Oklahoma City Thunder (58-23), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will once again try to wrap up the second seed in the Western Conference Wednesday when they close out the regular season at home against the Detroit Pistons.
Oklahoma City needs either a win on Wednesday, or a Los Angeles Clippers road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers to secure the No. 2 seed out West. The opponent of the second-ranked team is still unknown, but it will be the loser of Wednesday's Memphis Grizzlies/Dallas Mavericks game.
OKC has had a chance to clinch that No. 2 seed before, but it is on a two-game losing streak.
The Thunder fell in Indianapolis to the Pacers on Sunday afternoon, then lost in the Big Easy to the New Orleans Pelicans, 101-89, Monday night.
Oklahoma City had no answer for Tyreke Evans, who stuffed the stat sheet, pouring in 41 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Evans shot 14-of-26 from the field and 12-of-16 from the free-throw line for New Orleans, which had lost eight straight games and played without six of its top seven scorers this season.
"I'm not making any excuses, they just beat us," said Kevin Durant. "They got whatever they wanted at the offensive end, and it felt like we were just out of it."
Durant and Serge Ibaka scored 25 and 22 points, respectively, in the setback, while the other three Thunder starters combined for just eight points on 3- for-17 shooting. With the playoffs approaching, Russell Westbrook took the game off to rest his surgically repaired knee.
The Thunder may have squandered two chances at claiming the second seed, but they have great history against Wednesday's opponent. They have won nine straight versus the Pistons, who have never won in Oklahoma City since the franchise moved from Seattle prior to the 2008-09 season.
Detroit has lost three in a row to close out this hideous season. The Pistons had playoff aspirations after signing Josh Smith as a free agent in the offseason, but all this season brought was the firing of Maurice Cheeks midway through and, on Monday, the resignation of Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations.
The Pistons fell to the Toronto Raptors, 116-107, at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday.
Greg Monroe netted 23 points and had 10 rebounds and Andre Drummond had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons. Rodney Stuckey totaled 18 points, Brandon Jennings scored 17 with seven assists and Kyle Singler chipped in 14 points in defeat.
"We had no rhythm early on and we didn't guard," Pistons head coach John Loyer said.
04/16 10:29:26 ET