Recent losing stretch has Pistons slowly fading out of playoff picture

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Detroit Pistons
Mar 19, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy argues a call with referee CJ Washington (53) during the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the recent slide the Detroit Pistons are enduring is disappointing would be a severe understatement, and it could very well cost them a spot in the NBA playoffs.

The Pistons has lost five of six overall, including two straight. One was to the league’s worst team in the Brooklyn Nets, followed up by a lackluster showing against division rival Chicago, who is also vying for a playoff spot.

Reggie Jackson was finally benched by head coach Stan Van Gundy in an effort to shake things up for the better, but it didn’t result in a victory Wednesday night against the Bulls.

Van Gundy put it bluntly to his team following the loss in Chicago, which put the Pistons in a tie for 9th in the East with the Bulls.

“The message I gave them is, ‘Look, we got 10 games left,” he said afterwards. “And if we don’t change the way we’re playing, this is going to get really, really ugly.”

The only problem is, things have already gotten really, really ugly. This was a team that was supposed to have built on their playoff appearance last season and emerged as a team that could make some noise in the Eastern Conference. While a championship is still a ways away, the days of missing the playoffs appeared to be changing. Not so much anymore.

Jackson continues to struggle. Andre Drummond continues to look disinterested. Constant player combinations haven’t worked. Overall effort of the team is lacking.

The big victory over Cleveland coupled with a follow-up win over the Knicks two weeks ago that appeared to a building block of sorts seems like a distant memory now. Van Gundy is in charge of the team and has said all of the right things following their disappointing losses. But his words are ringing hollow, because nothing is happening to give the fans any indication that things will turn around.

The Pistons sit at 34-38, a four-game dip from where they were a season ago. They are just one game behind of 8th-place Miami in the East entering their Friday tilt on the road in Orlando, 2.5 games back of 6th-place Milwaukee.

But with just 10 games remaining and the team appearing to go in the wrong direction, it may be too late.