Pistons want to climb playoff standings

DETROIT —Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris might as well have said both teams played hard.

After Friday night’s playoff-clinching victory over the Washington Wizards, Harris was asked his preference for first-round opponent: Cleveland or Toronto.

“Both teams are tough,” Harris said in artfully dodging the question.

“Truthfully, we’re going to have to have our game ready for both teams. That’s something that we can continue to get better for. But playoff basketball is another intensity, another notch, and for us it’s going to be a good opportunity to see what we’re made of.”

The Pistons (43-37) will finish either seventh or eighth.

If they finish eighth, they will likely meet the defending Eastern Conference champion Cavs and LeBron James. James’ teams have made the NBA Finals in five straight seasons (four with Miami).

If the Pistons hold off the Pacers for seventh, they are likely at Toronto next weekend.

Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy said with a playoff berth clinched, he isn’t going to rest players over the final two regular-season games.

“Look, both those teams are really good, Toronto and Cleveland,” Van Gundy said. “I’m of the mind-set that you always want to finish as high as you can finish. It’s not a matter of I’d rather play Toronto, I don’t want to play Cleveland. I just, if you have a choice of finishing seventh or eighth, seventh sounds better. That’s the way I am. I’ve never really coached a game that I didn’t care if we won or lost. I’ve just never been in that situation.

“That doesn’t mean that somewhere we might have to take a look if we’ve got some guys banged up at healing some things (resting a player or players if seeding is secured). But we’ll play to try to win.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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