When: Wednesday, December 26 at 7 pm Eastern Time
Where: Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Otto Porter (Out, Knee), Dwight Howard (Out, Hip)
Pistons: Henry Ellenson (Out, Ankle), Glenn Robinson III (Out, Ankle), Ish Smith (Out, Groin)
What to Watch for
Which team will snap out of their slide?
The Wizards and Pistons story arcs have been quite similar this season. They both have top-ten payrolls but they’re struggling to solidify their place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Detroit is eighth, just a half-game ahead of the ninth-place Nets, and the Wizards are eleventh, two games behind Orlando.
Both teams are trying to get back on the right track after rough Decembers. The Wizards have lost seven of their last nine, and the Pistons have lost nine of their last eleven.
With the way the season is shaping up, this could wind up being a key game in determining who gets in the playoffs and who gets left out. FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Pistons will finish 39-43, good enough for the sixth-best record in the East, a game ahead of the Wizards, Hornets, and Heat.
Granted, there’s still a lot of time for things to happen with trades or injuries that could shake up the playoff picture, but as things stand, this game could be an important one in shaping the playoff picture down the road.