Pistons secure final East berth; Hornets miss out

Playing without an injured Blake Griffin, the Detroit Pistons beat the New York Knicks 115-89 on Wednesday to secure a playoff berth.

The Pistons (41-41) finished in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and will face the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.

Detroit needed to win on the final night of the season to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

If the Pistons lost on Wednesday and the Charlotte Hornets (39-43) had beaten the Orlando Magic, Detroit would have missed the playoffs. The Magic defeated the Hornets 122-114.

Other Eastern Conference playoff matchups decided on the final night of the season:

The Brooklyn Nets secured the sixth seed with a 113-94 win over the Miami Heat in Dwayne Wade’s final game.

Brooklyn will face the third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Magic secured the seventh seed and will face the Toronto Raptors in the first round. The other Eastern Conference series is fourth-seeded Boston against No. 5 seed Indiana.

With Griffin out due to a sore left knee, Detroit leaned on Luke Kennard against New York in the season finale. Kennard had 27 points on 9-for-14 shooting off the Pistons’ bench. Andre Drummond added 20 points and 18 rebounds and Reggie Jackson had 21 points and 7 assists.

Griffin has been the focal point of the Detroit offense, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game this season.

Detroit’s win leaves Charlotte short of a playoff spot in a summer in which star point guard Kemba Walker will test free agency.

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