Orlando will be seeking some Friday night MAGIC as Detroit visit the Amway Center for a matchup between the NBA’s bottom two teams. That magic could be the rumoured return of Markelle Fultz to the court….he is still shown as out on the official injury report.
So here is our guide to the teams so far this season, some history and a bit of what to expect come tip off.
Last Games And Season Records.
The Orlando Magic
Wednesday 26th January – LA Clippers 111 – 102 Orlando Magic
Magic Top Performances – Franz Wagner led the team with 21 points, along with 3 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals. He has scored double figures in 41 of his 49 NBA games, including now hitting 20-points or more on 11 occasions. Cole Anthony may be drawing criticism from some Magic fans online but again he had influence on the team. Yes he had some struggles shooting but recorded 19 points as he found a way to score. He registered a career high 11 assists in attaining a double-double, whilst also adding 6 rebounds, a block and 2 steals. Jalen Suggs by the close had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Gary Harris finished with 14 points, Wendell Carter Jr scored 11 points and Mo Bamba 10 points.
Orlando’s record is now 9 wins and 40 losses, leaving the the Magic adrift at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They also hold the worst record in the NBA. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 2. The home record stands at 3 wins of 21 games played, whilst on the road it is 6 wins in 28 played. In points per game the Magic score 102.1, whilst conceding 110.6. The over all rating for the Magic remains 28th on offence but improved to 21st defensively.
The Detroit Pistons
Wednesday 26th January – Denver Nuggets 110 – 105 Detroit Pistons
The Pistons Performance – Head Coach Dwayne Casey saw Cade Cunningham lead Detroit in most categories with 34 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals. Support came from Saddiq Bey with 21 points, whilst Hamidou Diallo had 14. From the bench Trey Lyles got 10 points and there was an 11 point haul for Frank Jackson. The Pistons totalled 14 steals in the game.
Detroit have a record of 11 wins and 36 losses, including losing their last 3 games played. The Pistons are 14th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played they have won 4. Their road record stands at 4 wins in 25 played. In points per game the Pistons score 102, whilst conceding 111.6. Detroit are 29th in the NBA for offensive rating and 24th defensively. They have improved marginally on the offensive end since the last meeting but worsened defensively.
Head-To-Head – The Detroit Pistons
This will be the third meeting of four on the season, the Pistons having so far won both. It is the first game in Orlando, the previous two being in Detroit. 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.
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 117 games sees the Pistons leading 50-67.
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
At the time of writing ESPN show Detroit are without Jerami Grant who has now cleared NBA covid protocols and is in the reconditioning phase. Kelly Olynyk is in NBA protocols for Covid so likely to be absent. Isaiah Livers remains out. Josh Jackson has been added as questionable due to spine tightness.
Last time out Dwayne Casey used the following:
Detroit Starting Unit – Cade Cunningham (PG), Cory Joseph (SG), Hamidou Diallo (PF), Saddiq Bey (SF), Isaiah Stewart (C)
Bench Unit – Killian Hayes, Trey Lyles, Rodney McGruder, Frank Jackson, Josh Jackson, Saben Lee (DNP), Luka Garza (DNP), Chris Smith (DNP), Cassius Stanley (DNP)
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
There was excitement amongst Magic fans after Markelle Fultz was shown on an app earlier today as a game time decision. At this moment and having checked the 4:30pm Magic injury report he is listed as out.
ESPN is continues to show 5 absences for Orlando ahead of some Friday night Magic as Detroit visit.
RJ Hampton is out for 4-6 weeks and on crutches with a left knee injury.
Markelle Fultz is again shown as training with the Lakeland Magic as he rehabs the knee. There remains no public timeline for his return.
E’Twaun Moore remains out with a sprained left knee.
Michael Carter-Williams is out after surgery to remove a bone fragment and repair his left ankle ligament.
Jonathan Isaac continues to be out as he rehabilitates from the surgically repaired left knee. He is said to be making steady progress. There remains no public timeline for his return to the court.
The Orlando Lineup For Friday Night Magic As Detroit Visit
Could tonight be the first time Coach Jamahl Mosely has Markelle Fultz available to him? If not expect little change from last time out.
Last Magic Starting Lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Jalen Suggs (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit – Chuma Okeke, Ignas Brazdeikis, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield, Robin Lopez (DNP)
Final Thoughts For Friday Night Magic As Detroit Visit
Is this a must win game for Orlando? It is probably very close to being. Already two games adrift of Detroit, the Magic have lost 15 of their last 17 played. Orlando are favourites tonight in the sports betting odds and for team morale a bounce back win would be good.
Being the third meeting of the season there will be very few surprises in how either team play.
We know Orlando will attack the paint with excellence, what doesn’t often follow is the three point shooting matching. Against the Clippers too often Orlando settled for shooting from range.
Detroit like to play fast. They seek to force turnovers and make steals. The Pistons are successful at getting to the foul line. That is not good reading for the Magic. These have been a failing all season and we’re again evident in the Clippers loss. In the previous preview I wrote that if Orlando address those flaws and focus upon sticking to the defensive assignments this a very winnable game for. That remains true tonight.
Detroit’s shooting accuracy has worsened marginally since the previous meeting. Putting up an average of 88 shots per game (15th most in the NBA) they make only 37 of those attempts (ranking them last at 30th). They will use the three ball liberally but make less than a third of those attempts, rating 29th in the three point efficiency.
The tip time from Orlando is shown on the Orlando Magic website as being midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK today you will need an active NBA League Pass 2021/22 subscription.
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Let’s Go Magic!