Knicks and Pistons close season at MSG

( - The NBA is buzzing on the final day of the season.

There is a battle for the eighth and final playoff spots in both conferences. The Southwest Division title and No. 2 seed in the Western Conference is up for grabs. The third seed in the East hasn't been determined.

However, there are meaningless games and Wednesday's bout between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden almost qualifies as one if not for the lottery implications.

The Knicks are one game ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the worst record in the NBA, thus, getting the most ping-pong balls in next month's Draft Lottery.

If the Knicks win on Wednesday and the Timberwolves lose at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are battling for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, a blind drawing would be held at the Board of Governors meeting to break the tie. This drawing would settle who had the extra ping-pong ball, plus who would receive the higher draft pick should neither team win one of the three coveted lottery slots.

The Knicks did themselves no favors on Monday by going down to Atlanta and beating the 60-win Hawks, 112-108. Other than Paul Millsap, who is nursing a shoulder injury, the Hawks played their regulars.

"I'm sure people are upset with us," Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said, referencing his team lessening its odds in the draft lottery. "But I don't think you can ever go out there and try not to play your best."

Langston Galloway made all six of his 3-point shots and scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Knicks. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points and Jason Smith scored 20 with nine rebounds and five assists for the Knicks, who defeated Orlando on Saturday and won back-to-back games for the first time since late February.

The Pistons were fringe players in the race for the eighth playoff seed, but have lost three of their last four. Detroit has dropped four in a row as the visitor.

On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers brought their starters back to the lineup and squashed the Pistons, 109-97, at Quicken Loans Arena. LeBron James finished with a triple-double.

Andre Drummond had 20 points and nine rebounds and Caron Butler scored 19 for the Pistons, who have dropped five of their last seven.

Detroit's only lead was 3-2. Cleveland scored 23 of the next 28 points to take control and later led by as much as 26 four times in the second quarter.

"We just got totally outcompeted from the beginning of the game on," said Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. "We got blown out and the game was over at the end of one (quarter)."

The Pistons won two of three from the Knicks, including one game this season at MSG. Detroit's victory on Jan. 2 in New York stopped an eight-game losing streak there.