On Game Day 41 for Orlando it is all about breaking the seven game losing streak, with the Magic seeking a win in Detroit over the Pistons. These are the Eastern Conference’s bottom two teams but that does not mean it will be a boring and poor quality game.
The tip time from Detroit 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.
For Orlando this is the first night of a back-to-back, playing tomorrow night in Washington.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s match up, history and what to expect.
Wednesday 5th January – Philadelphia 76ers 116 – 106 Orlando Magic
The Magic Performance – Cole Anthony returned and provided 26 points, along with 7 assists, including sinking a three from the logo. Mo Bamba grabbed 19 points, with 2 blocks, 2 steals and 8 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr played all night with personal fouls hanging over him. By the time he fouled out in the 4th quarter he had his 19th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Franz Wagner continued his good run of scoring ending with 15 points. Gary Harris struggled with his shot, totalling 10 points by the close. However that did maintain a run of double-digit score, now at 18 in his last 20 games. Terrence Ross contributed 18 points from the bench, the only significant scoring contribution from the bench unit.
Thursday 6th January – Detroit Pistons 88 – 118 Memphis Grizzlies
The Pistons Performance – The Detroit starting unit struggled to impact the scoring. Only Cade Cunningham and Hamidou Diallo impacting with 12 points each. The other double digit contributions came from the bench in Trey Lyles with 10 points and leading the team was Saben Lee with 14 points. Coach Dwayne Casey indicated there was a lack of energy on the second night of a back-to-back. He also felt that mentally there was a hangover from the hammering his team had took the previous night in Charlotte, losing 111-140.
Orlando’s record is now 7 wins and 32 losses. The Magic remain last in the Eastern Conference and have the NBA’s worst record. The Magic have now lost 7 games consecutively. Of the last 10 games played the Magic have won 2 and looking back further it is 18 losses in 21 games. The home record stands at 2 wins of 16 games played, whilst on the road it is 5 wins in 23 played. Points per game sees the Magic score 101.9 whilst conceding 111.5, rating 28th on offence and 24th defensively.
Detroit have a record of 7 wins and 30 losses, including losing their last two games played. The Pistons are 14th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played they have won 3, including taking down the Milwaukee Bucks 115-106 on January 3rd. Their home record stands at 4 wins in 17 played. In points per game the Pistons score 101.3, whilst conceding 111.1. Detroit are last (30th) in the NBA for offensive rating and 22nd defensively.
Head-To-Head – The Detroit Pistons
For Orlando this is the second and final trip of the season to Detroit to face the Pistons. The first meeting came on Game Day 7 (October 30th) and was won 103-110 by Detroit. Cade Cunningham, the first pick of the 2021 Draft made his NBA debut in that game. After tonight there remain two further meetings in Orlando, coming at the end of January and in mid-March.
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 6 of the last 8 matchups in Detroit.
The all time regular season head to head of 116 games sees the Pistons leading 50-66.
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 as having five absences. The Pistons are without Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk and Frank Jackson through injury. Jackson is also in NBA protocols for Covid. Isaiah Livers and Chris Smith are both simply listed as out.
Last time out Head Coach Dwayne Casey started Killian Hayes (PG), Cade Cunningham (SG), Hamidou Diallo (PF), Saddiq Bey (SF) and Isaiah Stewart (C).
The bench used was Trey Lyles, Josh Jackson, Rodney McGruder, Saben Lee, Luka Garza and Justin Robinson. Cory Joseph is expected to return tonight after clearing Covid protocols and having gone through reconditioning.
The Orlando Magic Injury Report
ESPN still does not make for great reading again for Game Day 41 with the Magic seeking a win in Detroit over the Pistons.
Cole Anthony is questionable, being a game time decision. Cole had missed five consecutive games and eight of the last nine played for management of an ankle injury. Unfortunately, in the third quarter against the Sixers on his return Cole had to leave the court having landed badly on the opposite ankle. He returned but there is clearly some concern remaining.
Franz Wagner is day-to-day, also with an ankle injury that saw him leave the court in the third quarter of the Sixers game.
Wendell Carter Jr is questionable with a sore left hamstring.
Robin Lopez remains in NBA protocols for COVID-19 and is out for the game.
Markelle Fultz is out being in NBA Covid reconditioning protocols.
Jalen Suggs is out with a fractured right thumb. He is said to be progressing steadily.
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 a left knee ACL injury that saw him miss all of last season. He is said to be making great and steady progress, but is not yet cleared for contact.
The Orlando Lineup With The Magic Seeking A Win In Detroit
Coach Mosely will as highlighted above have decisions to make on automatic starters Wendell Carter Jr, Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner.
Magic Starting Lineup Last Game – Cole Anthony (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
Magic Bench Unit Last Game – Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke, RJ Hampton, Tim Frazier, Freddie Gillespie, Admiral Schofield (DNP), Ignas Brazdeikis (DNP), Hassani Gravett (DNP)*, Mychal Mulder (DNP)**
Additional Players Available Tonight: Moritz Wagner is no longer listed on the injury report so could return to the rotation.
* Hassani Gravett has now returned to the Lakeland Magic after his second 10-day contract expired.
**Mychal Mulder has as reported previously now been waived by the Magic from his two-way deal.
Final Thoughts On The Magic Seeking A Win In Detroit
For Orlando the availability of Wendell Carter Jr, Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony is key. Franz now has 21 consecutive games of double digits. He has scored double figures in 34 of his 39 NBA games, including attaining 20-points or more on 10 occasions. Cole’s impact was clear against Philly as he returned to lead the Magic offensive efforts. Wendell is producing double-doubles with the best in the NBA. If any or all are missing Gary Harris, Terrence Ross and Mo Bamba will have the team expectations upon them.
Detroit have been leaking points recently. Across the four games played in 2022 Detroit have conceded an average of 120 points per game. Scoring will be available for Orlando, especially second chance points with the Pistons rating 29th in defensive rebounds. They are also prone to turning the ball over.
Detroit like to play fast. They force turnovers and make steals. They also get to the foul line a lot. That is not good reading for the Magic, who have been guilty of these failings all season. Limit those flaws and focus upon sticking to the defensive assignments will make this a very winnable game for Orlando. Add to this that in terms of shooting accuracy Detroit rate 29th in the league, putting up an average of 88 shots but making only a shade over 36 of those attempts. They will use the three ball liberally but make less than a third of those attempts.
Neither team were expected to be in playoff contention this season, both being in a rebuild from a young core. For Orlando it would be hugely beneficial to see a greater scoring contribution from the bench. RJ Hampton and Chuma Okeke must find an improvement in form, despite the disruption experienced. That being said in adversity there is an opportunity to show both potential and value. Admiral Schofield has the opportunity to continue working to become an increased factor on both ends of the floor.
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