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A Depleted Orlando Magic Face The Pistons

  • Returning home to the Amway Center a depleted Orlando Magic face the Pistons, a Detroit side who are again struggling. The Magic will want a win to overcome the disappointment of back-to-back defeats for the first time since the losses of November 6th and 9th (game days 6 and 7).

Regular Season Game 22 – Detroit Pistons vs Orlando Magic 

  • Venue – Amway Center, Orlando, Florida 
  • U.K. tip time is midnight, which is 7pm for both our friends in Orlando.
  • To watch here in the U.K. you will again need an active NBA League Pass subscription.

Orlando Magic 

  • Regular Season Record: 14-7
  • Run: lost 2, 8-2 in the last 10 games played.
  • Home Record 9-2 (9-1 in the Amway Center; the Atlanta “home court” loss was in Mexico City)
  • Road Record 5-5
  • Standing: 3rd in the East 
  • Points Per GameFor 114.1 (13th) Against 110.5 (7th)
  • RatingOffensive 17th Defensive 4th
  • It is now 5 consecutive games that the Magic have conceded 117 points or more. That has seen Orlando fall in those games from ranking as the NBA’s best defence and conceding 106.8 points per game to today’s figures. 
  • There is no hiding from the fact that Orlando have been sliding backwards from a defensive standpoint. The Magic season ratings have dropped back again but when you look at the last five games in isolation they rank amongst the NBA’s worst numbers.
  • In that same period the offensive rating has jumped forward so it is not all doom and gloom.
  • Our scoring leader is now once again Paolo Banchero at 20.6 points per game. His performance against Cleveland pushed Franz Wagner to second with 20.4 ppg. Third on the team and leading the bench is Cole Anthony who with 15.4 points per game.
  • Paolo Banchero is also the team leader for assists (4.7) per game. Jalen Suggs is the leader for steals per game at 1.9. Goga Bitadze leads in blocks with 1.4 per game (16th in the NBA). Moritz Wagner is second in the league in all categories of drawing charges, having taken 12 in the season so far.

Last Game – Cleveland Cavaliers 

  • Orlando fell to a 111-121 loss after an opening quarter that saw the Cavs score 37 points. That quarter of below acceptable play gave the Magic a 17 point deficit, that was extended early in the second quarter to 23. It turned out to be an unassailable hill to climb, but man did the Magic try to get it back level. On the back of an improved defensive display they clawed it back to within 5 points mid way in the third. However, every time Orlando put a run together Cleveland were able to find a score to break the momentum. 
  • The game was virtually decided by the difference in three point shooting, which saw Cleveland out scoring Orlando by 36 points. The Magic were horrible from range, going 2-of-23 on the night. Cleveland hit 7 of their first 9 from beyond the arc, ultimately making 14-of-34.
  • Paolo Banchero was simply spectacular, erupting for a career-best 42 points. Cole Anthony (19), Franz Wagner (14), Anthony Black (11) and Moe Wagner (11) rounded out the double digit scoring. 
  • The starting unit was again Anthony Black, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Goga Bitadze.
  • From the bench came Cole Anthony, Gary Harris, Moe Wagner, Joe Ingles and Caleb Houstan.

Tonight

  • The Magic injury report is beginning to get an all too familiar look about it with 4 names that have spent all too long on this list over recent season. It shows Wendell Carter Jr (left hand; fractured third metacarpal) and Markelle Fultz (left knee tendinitis) remaining as out. 
  • Jonathan Isaac is again listed as day-to-day but has been again confirmed as not playing tonight with an ankle issue.
  • Jalen Suggs left the court against Cleveland during the second quarter, being helped from the court. Whilst he is now listed as listed as day-to-day, he has been confirmed as not playing tonight with an ankle sprain .
  • Jett Howard is now available having been recalled from a second period on a G-League assignment. 
  • Two-way player Trevelin Queen is looking as if he is again not part of the squad.
  • Kevon Harris has yet to suit up for Orlando this season. He had been listed as a coach’s decision to not play. However when asked by Philip Rossman-Reich Coach Mosley stated he was still doing individual work to get his knee back in shape. Once it is fully rehabbed the team will look to get him playing time. 
  • Therefore tonight will see a different starting unit. Expect Gary Harris to come into the starting 5 with Anthony Black, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Goga Bitadze. Through Harris likely starting and with no JI from the bench it would be reasonable to expect both Caleb Houstan to again see significant minutes, along with possibly both Jett Howard and Chuma Okeke playing a part. Admiral Schofield will also be available to Coach Mosley

The Detroit Pistons

A Quick Look Back

  • Last season saw a diabolical 17-65 record, finishing bottom (15th) in the East.
  • A new and expensive head coach was appointed in Monty Williams. That saw the previous coach Dwane Casey move to a front office position. It had the look of a positive step with a team that had kept the vast majority of its squad.
  • From the Draft at number 5 came Ausar Thompson, soon followed in the first round by guard Marcus Sasser. Two vets picked up cheaply were Joe Harris and Monte Morris, to add experience and depth to the bench.

Season Stats

  • Regular Season Record: 2-19 Run: Won 0 in their last 10 played
  • Standing: 15th in the East, holding the worst record in all the NBA
  • Points Per GameFor 108.8 (27th) Against 118 (23rd)
  • RatingOffensive 27th Defensive 24th
  • Season 2023-24 was believed to be one where a squad stacked with young talent made clear and tangible growth. So far that has not happened, having lost 18 games straight. 
  • This team takes the second most 2-point-shots per game in the league, with a relatively poor 52% success rate (24th in the league). They have good assist rates and are strong on rebounding, particularly the offensive end.
  • On defence they are third in the league for restricting opponents second chance points. They are also fairly effective at defending three-point opportunities. 
  • Cade Cunningham and Bojan Bogdanovic are joint team leaders in scoring with 22 points per game. Cunningham is also providing 7.4 assists per game. 
  • Jalen Duren and Ausar Thompson are providing rebounds and blocks a plenty. Duren is averaging a points and rebounds double-double per game, whilst also making blocks at a rate of 1.4 per game. 

Last Time Out For The Pistons

  • Their last outing was a 116-102 home court defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Detroit led at the half but all their good work was undone by a disastrous 34-18 final quarter.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 22 points. Duren (17) and Cunningham (16) followed in scoring.
  • Starting 5 – Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
  • Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers, Alec Burks, Ausar Thompson, James Wiseman and Marcus Sasser all came from the bench.
  • Marvin Bagley III and Kevin Knox did not play.

Tonight

  • Their injury report sees Jalen Duren, Joe Harris and Monte Morris listed as out.
  • So as with Orlando there will have to be a change to their starting 5, and losing Jalen Duren is a huge blow. 
  • James Wiseman is the obvious choice to start, with Marvin Bagley III seeing the back up spot.

Head-To-Head With The Detroit Pistons

  • In 123 regular season games played and the score stands at 53-70 to the Pistons.
  • Last season was a 2-2 tie, seeing each team win at home. 
  • Orlando and Detroit have recently been exchanging short runs of wins. Orlando won the last two played, Detroit the three before that. In the last 12 played it is 6 wins each. 

A Final Thought As A Depleted Orlando Magic Face The Pistons

  • From my previous game previews and if you watch the our podcast you will know that I’m not one for disrespect to any opponent or for saying “this is an easy game”. So I will phrase this point simply by saying that tonight’s game is about as good an opportunity for the Magic to get back to winning ways as you can get in the NBA.
  • This fixture is the the final of two games added to each team’s schedule after elimination from the In-Season Tournament. As a depleted Orlando Magic face the Pistons neither team will underestimate their opponent.
  • There may still be some extra desire from players on both sides to have the upper hand tonight after the brawl seen between the two in Detroit. 
  • So far for Monty Williams the road has been a rocky one as the Detroit head coach. Cade Cunningham is said to be frustrated. Jaden Ivey has been dropped to the bench and is rumoured to be unhappy at that development. However, were it not for a poor final quarter in their last game they would have had a good win. A wounded animal can be very dangerous.
  • Orlando are a team that defines itself by their ability to play defence. Despite Detroits recent struggles Orlando will need their defence back to its best to contain the scoring threat Detroit can offer.

The Let’s Talk Magic Game Preview

GO MAGIC!