It’s Game Day 65 and Orlando visit Detroit. The Magic aim to build on a win over Memphis, as both the Pistons and Magic eye the lottery odds.
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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 ORLANDO VISIT DETROIT
Detroit took another defeat on Saturday night, this time to the Hornets by 94-107 in Charlotte. Detroit were led in scoring by Frank Jackson and Saddiq Bey with 25 and 22 points respectively. For that game they only had 9 active players.
Also on Saturday night the Magic beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the Amway Centre by 111-112. Cole Anthony hit 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists as he produced his 13th double figure scoring game in the 14 played since his return from injury. He nailed the second buzzer beating 3 point winner of his career and proceeded to provide one of the best post game interviews I have seen! Mo Wagner got hot in his third Magic game, shooting the ball well for 24 points. Dwayne Bacon back in the starting unit got an important 23 points. RJ Hampton with 18 points made a career high.
The Pistons have won 12 of 29 games at home this season. Orlando have won 9 of 30 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 20-44, whilst Detroit are 19-45. Across the last 10 games that each team has played both hold a 3-7 record. Orlando have a one game win streak and Detroit have lost their last 2 games.
Results see Detroit 15th and Orlando 14th in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons come into the game as the NBA’s 26th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 107.1 points per game. Orlando are 29th with an average of 104 points per game.
Detroit have a defensive rating at 15th and sees them conceding 111.1 points per game. Orlando are 24th and concede 112.2 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE DETROIT PISTONS
Only the Houston Rockets have a worse season record than Detroit this season. Here I would normally write about how the team plays and their statistics to support this. Honestly, in this game who knows. They have half their squad sitting through “injury” and that includes many of their most influential players.
Offensively they play at a slow pace, 22nd in the NBA, that is not likely to change greatly. Scoring wise 32.9% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 50.1% is from the two ball. They shoot 45% from the field and 35.5% with the 3 ball. Detroit have a better rate for assists than Orlando, with 24.4 per game. Detroit will draw fouls and attempt the 5th most free throws per game in the NBA at 23.8 attempts and making 18.2 of them, an efficiency rate of 76.5%
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.2 per game) and steals (7.6 per game). They turn the ball over at a rate of almost 15 times per game, one of the worst rates in the league. They foul a lot and commit on average almost 21 fouls per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 17 times per game, the best record in the NBA.
They rate poorly in all categories of rebounding.
THE DETROIT PISTONS SQUAD
According to ESPN Detroit have absences for tonight, amounting to half of their squad. Jahill Okafor (4.4 PPG), Mason Plumlee (10.3 PPG), Cory Joseph (8 PPG), Jerami Grant (22.5 PPG), Wayne Ellington (9.6 PPG), Dennis Smith Jr (6.7 PPG) and Rodney McGruder (5.7 PPG) are all definitely out. Hamidou Diallo (10.8 PPG) is day-to-day and questionable.
Last game Coach Dwayne Casey started Saddiq Bey (11.6 PPG), Josh Jackson (13.5 PPG), Killian Hayes (5.7 PPG), Sekou Doumbouya (4.3 PPG) and Isaiah Stewart (7.6 PPG).
From the bench came Frank Jackson (9.5 PPG), Tyler Cook (3.8 PPG), Saben Lee (5.1 PPG) and Deividas Sirvydis (1.1 PPG).
HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE DETROIT PISTONS
This will be the third and final meeting of the season. The series has been split 1-1 so far this season, therefore the result could effectively decide each team’s draft lottery position as the winner will hold the tie-breaker. Orlando took the win over Detroit by 96-105 on Game Day 31 on February 21st. The following night saw Orlando lose 105-95 in a lacklustre display.
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 7 of the last 9 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 114 games sees the Pistons leading 49-65.
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 REPORT AS ORLANDO VISIT DETROIT
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out after turning his ankle against Cleveland.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is listed as out with back spasms.
James Ennis III (8.4 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Devin Cannady (4.3 PPG) is out after undergoing surgery for an open dislocated and severely sprained right ankle.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury and has no timetable for return.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out and will miss multiple games with an ankle injury.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Finally Coach Clifford has been cleared to rejoin the team after having tested positive for COVID-19. He will miss tonight and take charge again on Wednesday night against Boston.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS ORLANDO VISIT DETROIT
Orlando used their 31st starting unit of the season on Saturday night against the Grizzlies, the most in the team’s history.
The Magic starting unit used by Acting Head Coach Ty Corbin was Dwayne Bacon (10.8 PPG), Moritz Wagner (5.9 PPG), Cole Anthony (12.4 PPG), Gary Harris (10.3 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (11.5 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (5.5 PPG), Mo Bamba (7.4 PPG), Donta Hall (3.1 PPG) and Chasson Randle (5.7 PPG).
Donta Hall has now been waived by the team and Ignas Brazdeikis signed.
RECORD FOR LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 75 – GAME DAY 63 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
KEYS TO THE GAME AS ORLANDO VISIT DETROIT
As Orlando visit Detroit one thing is certain, Orlando are not tanking and no player on the squad is trying to lose. They have spirit and intend to fight regardless of what that does to the team’s lottery odds. I do not believe you can ask professional sportspeople to deliberately lose, especially where the result may see someone take your job.
On paper the Pistons both score more (3 points per game) and concede less (1.1 point per game) than Orlando do. With the disruption to both teams by absences it is hard to know what form the game will take. Rotations will be different as players are given rest and asked to play out of position.
Cole Anthony will be going for the win as he continues to grow. His stats since return put him amongst the best rookies of the season. He said in his post game interview that he wants another win tonight in Detroit, and wants to win every game.
Mo Wagner will be looking to build upon his solid game in the Amway on Saturday. He is proving to be a gritty and tenacious player, who can agitate his opponents.
The Magic will have to control Saddiq Bey and Josh Jackson. Jackson is dangerous shooting almost 50% from the field on the season. Bey is a capable 3 point shooter and also has scored almost 45% from the field.
THE LOTTERY RACE
The bottom teams are packed tightly together.
Oklahoma 21-44 – 110.5% chance of the number 1 draft pick. 10.5% chance of the 2nd pick. Guaranteed pick at 1 to 9.
Orlando 20-44 – 12.5% chance of the number 1 draft pick. 12.2% chance of the 2nd pick. Guaranteed pick at 1 to 8.
Minnesota 20-45 – 14% chance of the number 1 draft pick. 13.4% chance of the 2nd pick. Guaranteed pick at 1 to 7.
Detroit 19-45 – 14% chance of the number 1 draft pick. 13.4% chance of the 2nd pick. Guaranteed pick at 1 to 6.
Houston 16-49 – 14% chance of the number 1 draft pick. 13.4% chance of the 2nd pick. Guaranteed pick at 1 to 5.
With the Pistons and Magic meeting tonight one team will see their position strengthened, the others worsened.