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Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons Preview

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Tonight the Hornets try to climb back in to the playoffs while the Pistons are just trying to get back in to the race all together.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons

Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills

When: 6:00 PM

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports South

It's becoming very clear which Eastern conference playoff race teams are legit, and which ones are merely pretenders. Before last night's NBA games the Hornets were sitting in the playoffs with a slim lead, and as of today they are back in the lottery behind the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. As March rolls on it's looking very likely that these three teams will be battling for the last two playoff spots for the remainder of the year, and it's going to be a constant rotation of in and out of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons are fading fast and don't even look like a possible dark horse candidate to catch the playoffs. Sitting at 12th they're behind the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, and Charlotte Hornets. The Pistons have had a very up and down season where they went from Josh Smith bringing down their offense all by himself, to a post Smith renaissance that had them right in the playoff chase. Unfortunately for them an injury to Brandon Jennings has put them in a rough spot and it doesn't look like they're going to recover despite making a trade for Reggie Jackson at the deadline.

As for tonight's game, Charlotte should have the advantage based on current trends. The Hornets are going up and the Pistons are going down, but that doesn't mean anything for a random game in March. Charlotte has been streaky all year so it's not out of the question that they take a step backwards tonight. After all, the Pistons still have Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and while Jackson has struggled this year he has the potential to explode at any moment.

Tonight is an important game for both teams. The Hornets need to keep up with Miami and Indiana, while the Pistons are trying to just stay in the playoff race all together. Expect a close one.