Detroit Pistons vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game Score: Time, TV, Radio


Detroit Pistons (21-56) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (22-54)

When: 8 p.m. Friday.

Or: Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.

TV: Bally Sports Detroit.

Radio: WWJ-AM (950) (Pistons radio affiliates).

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• The score of the box

WINNER OF THURSDAY:Pistons use epic fourth-quarter run to upset 76ers, 102-94

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Game Notes: At the start of the week, this game, on the second straight night for the Pistons, certainly looked like a playoff game for a top-three spot in the draw. It’s probably still that, with the Pistons and Thunder sitting in third and fourth lottery spots entering Friday, with OKC trailing Detroit by 1½ games. (The Magic and Rockets are tied for first place at 20-57; teams with the three worst records each have a 14% chance of winning the top pick and a 52.1% chance of staying in the top four. )

The Thunder have had a brutal march, with just three wins in 15 games. Two of those three wins were against the Magic and the plummeting Portland Trail Blazers. OKC was betrayed by its defense during that streak, giving up 122.7 ppg while scoring just 112.5; that’s especially true on the perimeter, where teams shot 39.7 percent on 3-pointers in March against the Thunder. The Pistons, meanwhile, averaged around 110 points per game in March and look to be on the rise with a competitive loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday (in which Cade Cunningham scored 34 points) and an epic rally Thursday night to defeat the 76ers (the No. 3 seed in the East and two games out of first place) by eight points.

Friday’s game is also another rookie matchup; Cunningham — who played at Oklahoma State — makes his rookie of the year case every night, while the Thunder have… uh, pretty much everyone. Of the eight Thunder players who contested an 18-point loss to the Hawks on Wednesday, five were rookies, with only Theo Maledon, Aleksei Pokusevski and Isaiah Roby (the grizzled Nebraska veteran in his third season) entering this season with Experience NBA.

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Josh Giddey, a 19-year-old Australian who finished sixth overall with the Thunder last summer, is out of shape. He was averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 41.9 percent from the field before a bad hip stopped him for the year.

After leaving OKC, the Pistons will have just four games left: a Sunday game against the Pacers at Indy, a Wednesday game against the Mavs at LCA, a visit from defending champion Bucks on April 8 and, finally, a rematch with the 76ers in Philadelphia on April 10. The Thunder, meanwhile, will play home games against the Suns (Sunday) and Blazers (Tuesday) before hitting the road to face the Jazz, Lakers and Clippers.

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Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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