The Pistons had their longest break so far this season, getting a rare three straight days off over the Christmas holiday season. They pick back up with a trip to Orlando to face off against the rebuilding Magic, looking to continue their strong play on the road. They're 8-6 on the season away from the Palace, compared to 6-10 at home.
Don't look now, but Smoove's groove has some traction. Over the last six games he has averaged 24 points per game on 54 percent true shooting along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks and steals. Tossing up 3.3 three pointers per game is still too many for a guy shooting 25 percent, but it's tough to argue with the results.
The team has only played .500 ball over the stretch, but have at least been competitive in each game except for hosting the Rockets last Saturday. Which is surprising, since the team has received strong play from most of their regulars - Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond, and Kyle Singler have all contributed over the stretch. The one who hasn't: Rodney Stuckey.
For more game previewing, Kevin Sawyer shared his thoughts in a Q/A post at SB Nation's Orlando Pinstriped Post here.
Keys to the Game
Battle of the rookies: Victor Oladipo has dominated the ball for Orlando despite struggling for the most part. He's averaged 13 points on 49 percent true shooting and 3 assists with the same number of turnovers. Still though, Oladipo has at times shown the explosiveness that's led to being picked second in the draft, including a triple double earlier this month and this. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been equally up-and-down, but has consistently been the Pistons' best perimeter defender.
Rebounding: The Pistons are the league's best offensive rebounding team, while the Magic are one of the best on the defensive boards.
Smith vs. Harris: The Magic have an underrated young frontcourt, particularly since Tobias Harris returned from injury. Harris is the type of combo forward who can match up with Smith on both sides of the court.
Question of the Game
The age-old debate: what's the best Christmas movie? I got Home Alone.