Tonight the Detroit Pistons visit the Amway to take on the Orlando Magic. This Magic team are aiming to build on a two game win streak as we head towards the All-Star break.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE DETROIT PISTONS VISIT
Detroit last played on Friday night on the road in Memphis. In that game the Pistons lost 95-105 to the Grizzlies. Jerami Grant scored 16 points and was one of six players to make double figure scoring. Mason Plumlee led the team in rebounds and assists, as he tallied a double-double.
The Magic added another win to the season tally, with a superb team performance in the Amway to beat the Golden State Warriors 120-124. The game on Friday night saw Orlando have 12 fit and available players. The team was led by Nikola Vucevic who scored his third career triple-double. Vooch hit 30 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, plus a steal and a block. Other notable performances included those of Chuma Okeke, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross and Michael Carter-Williams.
The Pistons have won 2 of 15 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 7 of 15 games at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 12-18, whilst Detroit are 8-21. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Pistons have a 3-7 record, whilst Orlando are 4-6. Detroit have lost their last two games, Orlando won the last two.
Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have played twenty two games and have now six victories. That run of results sees Orlando 12th in the Eastern Conference. As injuries ease this could improve rapidly as Toronto in 6th have a 15-15 record, seeing the Magic only 3 games back.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE DETROIT PISTONS
Detroit are in some difficulties this season and their record sees them sat last at 15th in the Eastern Conference. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves have a worse season record.
The Pistons come into the game as the NBA’s 23rd ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 108.2 points per game. A defensive rating at 21st sees them conceding an average of 112.6 points per game.
Offensively they play at a slow pace, 26th in the NBA. Scoring wise 35.1% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 47.7% is from inside the paint. They shoot 43.3% from the field and 35.2% with the 3 ball. Detroit have a better rate for assists than Orlando, with 24 per game.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5 per game) and steals (7.7 per game). They turning the ball over at a rate of almost 15 times per game. They foul a lot and commit on average almost 21 fouls per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 17.1 times per game, the best record in the NBA.
THE DETROIT PISTONS SQUAD
According to ESPN Detroit have absences for tonight, including to star players. Delon Wright (10.7 PPG) is doubtful with a groin injury, though he did play on Friday night. Jahill Okafor (4.3 PPG) is out after knee surgery. Killian Hayes (4.6 PPG) is out with a hip injury. Finally, Blake Griffin (12.3 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but is sitting out whilst a trade is sought.
Last game Coach Dwayne Casey started Jerami Grant (23.5 PPG), Mason Plumlee (10.2 PPG), Saddiq Bey (9.4 PPG), Wayne Ellington (10.6 PPG) and Delon Wright (10.7 PPG).
From the bench came Josh Jackson (12.9 PPG), Dennis Smith Jr (4 PPG), Svi Mykhailiuk (6.3 PPG), Isaiah Stewart (5.2 PPG) and Sekou Doumbouya (4.2 PPG). Rodney McGruder (3 PPG) is a further option.
HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE DETROIT PISTONS
This will be the first meeting of the season.
Last season the series was tied 1-1. Orlando won 112-116 in overtime in the Amway on February 12th 2020. The Magic lost in November in Detroit by 88-103. The third game of the series in Detroit during March 2020 was a victim of the NBA hiatus.
Over recent years Orlando have normally taken the home court games as a win. The Magic have won 6 of the last 7 games in the Amway. The Pistons have won 5 of the last 6 matchups in Detroit.
The all time regular season head to head of 112 games sees the Pistons leading 48-64.
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.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is now down to only 4 players, granted they are all important pieces to the team.
According to ESPN:
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is now out until after All Star after it was revealed he has a non-displaced rib fracture. Previously it had been reported as being out with a right shoulder strain suffered against Portland. It is unclear if this was a misdiagnosis, an additional injury or not publicised by Orlando previously.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a severe left ankle sprain.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS THE DETROIT PISTONS VISIT
Coach Clifford will again have 12 players to chose from for the game.
The starting unit against Golden State consisted of Michael Carter-Williams (7.7 PPG), Khem Birch (6.5 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.5 PPG), James Ennis III (7.2 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.6 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG), Chasson Randle (2.5 PPG), , Chuma Okeke (4.8 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.4 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (3.7 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.7 PPG). Gary Clark (3.4 PPG) was available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 12th
SEASON RECORD – 12-18
HOME RECORD – 7-8
ROAD RECORD – 5-10
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 5-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 10-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 8-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 27TH OF 30 (106.2)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 17TH OF 30 (112)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (105.6)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 11TH OF 30 (111.3)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-11
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 11-7
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 8-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 4-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 7-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 11-11
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-7
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE DETROIT PISTONS VISIT
Orlando will need to get a hold of Jerami Grant, who is playing at a career season level. Mason Plumlee will give Vooch a tough match-up. Rookie Saddiq Bey has a good three point shot that we must defend. Orland have seen a greater focus returning to their defensive game of late as the injury crisis has eased. Mo Bamba, Al_Farouq Aminu and Michael Carter-Williams can provide good coverage against the Pistons biggest threats.
If the Magic can continue to see the offensive play of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross the team are in a good position to take a third consecutive win. Orlando’s best chance lies in ball movement and finding the hot hand again.
Chuma Okeke is providing encouraging numbers on both ends of the floor.
This is an improving Magic team, and stats over the last 6 games are some of the best in the NBA. As I wrote last time around the team and player statistics are all on the upward trajectory. Depleted the Magic fought teams with what they had. A balance is now returning to the roster and performances improving as a result.
There are no easy games in the NBA so for Orlando to win they must play the team in front of them effectively. We can not afford to take the night off or lose focus against a struggling opponent. This is certainly true for tonight as the Detroit Pistons visit the Amway.
LET’S GO MAGIC!