Tonight in the Amway Center it is Detroit and Orlando in a game neither want to win! On Magic Game Day 71 it is all about the lottery odds. That being said Orlando in their last game conceded 150 points, an unwanted franchise record for the most conceded in a game. Professional pride would dictate a response from the Magic.
Orlando will have the chance to make that statement on Sky Sports Arena, as tonight’s game is being carried live here in the U.K. To watch the game live on that channel you do need to have a subscription to Sky Sports. Alternatively you can watch live or on demand with an active NBA League Pass subscription. The tip time from Downtown Orlando is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being 11pm here in the U.K. (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
Time to take a look at the matchup between the only two teams currently eliminated from playoff contention.
Season Record And Last Time Out
The Orlando Magic
Last time out Orlando were blown apart by the Brooklyn Nets and a rampant Kyrie Irving. At the close the scoreboard read 150-108, a victory for Brooklyn and a basketball lesson for Orlando. The Magic conceded 86 first half points, of which Irving had 41!
For Orlando Cole Anthony recorded 19 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the team. Wendell Carter Jr scored 18 points, but was not able to dominate on the glass, recording 8 boards and 4 assists. Franz Wagner scored 16 points, 12 coming in the third quarter. It was a much needed return to scoring after a couple of lesser tallies. Moritz Wagner led the bench with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Orlando now have a record for the season of 18 wins and 52 losses. Including tonight there are just 12 games remaining. The Magic remain last in the Eastern Conference. Houston continue hold the worst record in the NBA (17-52) having played and won a game less than the Magic. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 5. The home record stands at 8 wins of 33 games played. On the road the record is 10 wins in 37 games played. Points per game sees the Magic scoring 104.2, whilst conceding 112.2.
The Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are 14th in the Eastern Conference. Detroit have played a game less than Orlando, with a record of 18 wins and 51 losses. Currently on a losing Detroit have lost their last 4 games played. Of the last 10 games played they have won 4. On the road Detroit have 7 wins in 32 played. Looking at points per game the Pistons score 103.5, whilst conceding 112.3.
Last time out for Detroit was also on Tuesday. It saw the Pistons lose in Miami to the Heat by 98-105. Jeremi Grant led Detroit with 22 points. Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Livers and Marvin Bagley III also recorded double digit scores with 13, 16 and 13 respectively.
Head-To-Head – The Detroit Pistons
This will be final meeting between the teams this season. The first three were all won by the home court team. The first meeting came on October 30th and was won 103-110 by Detroit. Jerami Grant scored 22 points and Kelly Olynyk had 18 to propel Detroit victory. In the rematch on January 8th Hamidou Diallo got 17 points, with Saddiq Bey and Trey Lyles each hitting 16. That saw the Pistons win 92-97. The latest came on January 28th, a win for Orlando by 103-119. Franz Wagner led with 24 points. Mo Bamba recorded a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jalen Suggs was a defensive beast as he shut down Cade Cunningham.
Last season saw the three game series taken 2-1 by the Magic. The previous season was tied 1-1.
Over recent years each team have often taken the home court game as a win. The Magic have won 7 of the last 9 games in the Amway Center. The Pistons have won 10 of the last 13 matchups in Detroit.
The all time regular season head to head of 118 games sees the Pistons leading 51-67.
Of the 19 games in the playoffs the record is again in the Pistons favour by 7-12. The Pistons took 3 of the 4 series played, most recently the 2008 Easter Conference semi-final.
Our Opponents – The Detroit Pistons
Being honest this could easily change through the day for either team but at the time of writing ESPN show Detroit are without Jerami Grant, Frank Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, Chris Smith. Cade Cunningham, Rodney McGruder and Chris Smith are listed as day-to-day and questionable. Luka Garza is unavailable on assignment to the G League.
Last time out Dwayne Casey used the following:
Detroit Starting Unit – Cory Joseph (PG), Rodney McGruder (SG), Jerami Grant (PF), Saddiq Bey (SF), Isaiah Stewart (C)
Bench Unit – Isaiah Livers, Killian Hayes, Marvin Bagley III, Kelly Olynyk, Saben Lee (DNP), Jamorka Pickett (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Lineup And Injury Report
Injury Report – Coach Jamahl Mosely will be awaiting on updates of availability. Jalen Suggs is again out with the ankle issue that has troubled him recently. Chuma Okeke is out with a left knee contusion. Wendell Carter Jr is questionable with a left ankle sprain. Jonathan Isaac (knee) and Bol Bol (foot) are both out for the rest of the season.
Last Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), RJ Hampton (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Markelle Fultz, Chuma Okeke, Moe Wagner, Terrence Ross, Admiral Schofield, Ignas Brazdeikis, Gary Harris (DNP), Robin Lopez (DNP)
Final Thoughts For Detroit And Orlando In A Game Neither Want To Win
Tonight is an example of my issue with how NBA draft lottery odds are. By rewarding the worst record you create for fans a situation where you get (in this instance) Detroit and Orlando in a game neither want to win! Teams are incentivised to lose.
The injury list present impacts on both teams greatly. It will see players either playing out of position or playing greater minutes than is usual.
Detroit like to play fast. They seek to force turnovers, make steals and block shots. The Pistons are successful at getting to the foul line. They have the worst shooting statistics in the NBA for field goals made and for two-point field goal percentage, are 29th (next to worst) in their total field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Detroit are not a good rebounding team.
Orlando will find scoring available from the three-point range and at the free throw line. Opportunities will be available for second chance points as well.
Aside from the Brooklyn game the Magic have been locked in on defence since All-Star. If they regain that focus Detroit would find points hard to come by. Pride should also see Orlando respond. No player likes to be on the receiving end of a rout, I expect that to be especially true of Cole Anthony.
This is also an opportunity for Franz Wagner to put on a show and raise people’s awareness of him in the Rookie of the Year standings. Franz currently ranks fourth behind Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes.
Finally, expect to see Markelle Fultz to be involved for the 15-to-20 minutes he has been playing. The Pistons defence has not yet faced Markelle this season.
Let’s Go Magic!