Win over New York Knicks gets Detroit Pistons final playoff spot in NBA's Eastern Conference

With Blake Griffin, second from right, in street clothes, Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard, second from left, celebrates with teammates at the bench in the final seconds against the Knicks on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Pistons won 115-89. (AP photo)

By JEFFREY BERNSTEIN
Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Detroit Pistons knew a victory Wednesday night would guarantee them a playoff spot. And, from the opening tip, they left no doubt that was going to happen.
Luke Kennard scored 27 points, Reggie Jackson had 21 and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 18 rebounds as the Pistons locked up the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with a 115-89 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Pistons face the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round starting Sunday night.
Jackson scored 14 points and Drummond had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter as the Pistons never trailed.
“We knew what was at stake,” Drummond said. “We knew they were coming in to try and ruin our season that we worked so hard for. Just tried to stick it to them early and get them out of the game.”
Detroit extended its lead to 27 points twice in the second quarter and led 65-41 at halftime.
The Pistons went up by as many as 36 points and led 92-59 after three.
Detroit took a game-high 40-point lead, 109-69, on Zaza Pachulia’s lay-in with 4:31 left.
“We’re building something special, and this is the first step to get into the playoffs,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Our fans are used to great basketball. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re not where we were.”
Wayne Ellington added 12 points for the Pistons, who hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2015-16 season.