Coverage at 7:30 pm ET
Orlando: 3-0 (2-0 road)
Pistons: 1-2 (0-1 home)
Even without an injured Vince Carter and a suspended Rashard Lewis, the Magic are stacked. They have run the table since the pre-season, consistently sporting a win margin in the double digits.
Even though the faces have changed, the game plan is the same. Dominate in the inside (they have a center who is apparently pretty good) and use that dominance to earn quality looks from the outside. How effective is this tactic? Four players are averaging better than 50% from downtown, and Jason Williams (!) is shooting 54% from the field.
The Magic are a top three defensive squad, garnering extra possessions with rebounding and by forcing turnovers. They are content to allow opponents to beat them from outside, and perfectly happy to get in a long-range shooting match.
For whatever reason, we dominated this series last year. I can't see any reason why that trend should continue, but Detroit has a great opportunity to sneak a win with Mickael Pietrus joining Lewis and possibly Vince Carter on the bench.
Keys for Detroit
Crash the boards: I have the feeling I can just cut and paste this one for the remainder of the season.
Get the long range game going: Teams have shot 44% from three point range against the Magic this year, and the Pistons should, hypothetically have the weapons to exploit this.
Sic Maxiell on Howard: He has been fairly effective, and should really be earning more minutes in this mediocre front court.
Question of the Game
Is Charlie V. going to show up tonight? The Pistons could really use a big game, or any sort of game from him. You can't have a valley without a peak, right?
Update: No Tay, no Rip -- for awhile. From MLive:
Prince will not travel with the team this week for games at Toronto and Orlando and will be re-evaluated Saturday, the Pistons said.
Pistons coach John Kuester said he does not expect guard Richard Hamilton to play on the two-game road trip either. Hamilton has not played since the season opener due to an injured ankle.