Tonight sees our Orlando Magic in the Amway, taking on the Detroit Pistons. We are back to the game having a tip time of 12:00am midnight here in the U.K.
In what is a must win game for the Magic it will as always be available live & on demand via the NBA League Pass.
This will be a very brief preview as I have next to no time available today, so my apologies in advance.
This will be the second meeting of the season, the Magic having lost in November in Detroit. We face them once more in Detroit during March.
The all time regular season head to head of 111 games sees the Pistons leading 47-64. The Pistons have won the last 3 matchups which were all in Detroit. The Magic have won 5 of the last 6 games in the Amway. Of the 19 games in the playoffs the record is again in the Pistons favour by 7-12.
The Pistons are 11th in the East with a 19 & 37 record, have a 9 & 18 road record & across their last 10 games sit at 2 & 8.
As a squad they appear in some disarray as they just traded away Drummond, have Blake Griffin & Luke Kennard out, whilst Derrick Rose is is day-to-day with a hip issue but is probable. They have some decent players available to them in Markieff Morris, Tony Snell, Reggie Jackson, Langston Galloway, Thon Maker, John Henson & Brandon Knight.
They have the NBA’s 19th offensive record, scoring 107.9 ppg. Defensively they are 21st conceding an average of 110.5 ppg.
The Magic now have a 23 & 31 losing record for the season.
We took a strong win on the back of a superb second half performance last time out beating the Hawks by 126-135. With 135 points we hit our season high on scoring, whilst scoring 18 of our 3 point attempts, shooting 47% from the 3.
Across our last 10 games we still have a terrible 2 & 8 record. Our home form has been better than our road performances, sitting now at 14 & 13. That can & must be improved further by a win tonight.
Offence & Defence
In the NBA offensive rankings we climbed to 25th with a rating of 106.1 but our average scoring is still only 103.7 points per game (which remains the 29th worst record in the NBA for ppg). Our defensive ranking remains the 7th best at 107.7 whilst still allowing only 105.3 points per game (which is still the best record for opponents ppg in the NBA).
The Magic Injury Report & Starters
The injury report for the Magic is as before: Jonathan Isaac (12 ppg) is now OUT for the rest of the season with a severe left knee strain & bone contusion. Al-Farouq Aminu (4.3 ppg) (torn meniscus) is OUT indefinitely after surgery. DJ Augustin (10.7 ppg) is out with a knee injury which is due to soon be re-evaluated in mid February.
Therefore our starting lineup will likely be Evan Fournier (18.7 ppg), Nikola Vucevic (19 ppg), Markelle Fultz (11.7 ppg) & Aaron Gordon (13.9 ppg) likely to be joined by Wes Iwundu (5 ppg). From the bench we have Michael Carter-Williams (6.6 ppg), Terence Ross (13.5 ppg), Mo Bamba (5.5 ppg), BJ Johnson (1.6 ppg), Melvin Frazier Jr (1.3 ppg), Vic Law (0 ppg), Khem Birch (3.9 ppg), Gary Clark (3.7 ppg) & James Ennis (5.8 ppg).
We knew some time ago that tonight is a City Night in the Amway & the Orlando Magic PR have confirmed by tweeting out that we wear the grey & orange City uniform tonight.
The Playoff Picture
Looking quickly at what the result will mean in terms of the playoff race:
We now have a 23-31 record, remaining 8th in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets also won last time out on Monday with a clutch 2 point jump shot from Dinwiddie with 3 seconds remaining. They remain 7th & now have a 24-28 record, with 1 win more & 2 games in hand on the Magic. The Nets face the Raptors tonight in Brooklyn.
The Wizards won last night beating the Bulls. The Wizards remain in 9th, are 19-33, being 4 wins back from us but they have 2 games in hand.
Keys To The Game
Our form of late has not been good & our offence has been ugly to watch. There can be no denying that we need our defence to ramp up. Should we do that our offence can take advantage of the opportunity of going against a lesser ranked team again.
If go into the 4th quarter level or with a lead we should feel hopeful as we are 19 & 2 from that position this season. We have to take care of the ball. We also need to see the versions of Vucevic, Fournier, Gordon & Ross again tonight that we saw against the Hawks.
That statement is also true as we begin to head down the final stretch of the season. They are our key players & have to come big.
This is a must win game as we head into the All Star break.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!