Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports
Key Matchup: April 9 in Cleveland
Now this is a familiar foe.
Like the Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons have toiled at the bottom of the Eastern Conference for a few years. Also like the Cavs and Wizards, the Pistons looked poised to end their postseason drought and make a push for the playoffs.
Unlike the other two teams, however, the Pistons injected some major star power into their roster through free agency.
Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings may not be the definition of team success, but they combine with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe to make a pretty formidable core. ESPN Forecast has them missing the playoffs, but don't be so quick to write this squad off; there is a lot of toughness in this group of players.
In the past, the Cavs and Pistons had some epic battles. It'll take a long time for a fan of either team to forget Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, and we can only hope to see a game that even comes close to the intensity of that matchup.
For now, however, it comes down to April 9. With both teams projected to be in the playoff hunt for the last few spots in the East, this game could be the decider. With its potential to be the last relevant game of the season, expect some of that bad blood to resurface.
Just remember: As exciting as the rivalry potential is for this season, someone always has to be sent home. Regardless of which team that may be, the loss will be yet another log in the fire of what looks to be exciting basketball in Cleveland.