Auburn Hills — After their loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, the Pistons knew they were the No. 8 seed and their playoff opponent would be the defending Eastern Conference-champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers are also their opponent in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night, making for a likely-tame matchup, with both teams not wanting to show anything of value before the series starts this weekend in Cleveland.
The Piston are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but even the challenge of facing the top-seeded Cavaliers doesn’t seem daunting.
Point guard Reggie Jackson said the Pistons are looking forward to playing Cleveland in the opening round, regardless of the perceived mismatch.
“I love it. The world’s not picking us anyway and they’re supposed to be the title contenders from the East. If we’re not favored anyway, you may as well get your crack at them,” Jackson said.
“David may not have wanted to fight Goliath but I don’t want to fight Goliath’s homeboy or little brother — I want to go and fight Goliath.”
The Pistons (43-38) have won two of the three meetings this season against the Cavaliers (57-24), including a surprising 96-88 win on Feb. 22 in Cleveland, which ended a five-game skid and jump-started a four-game winning streak that helped turn the season around.
The seven-game series will open in Cleveland this weekend for the first two games, with games 3 and 4 at The Palace. If necessary, Games 5 and 7 would be at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and Game 6 at The Palace.
The NBA will release the full playoff schedules after the regular season is completed Wednesday night.
Jackson is the only Pistons starter with playoff experience and the longest-tenured Pistons, Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, will be making their first forays into the postseason.
“We’re hungry to prove ourselves and we’re ready for the challenge,” Jackson said.