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Pistons-Magic Game Thread

(note: in the spirit of the Pistons' phoned in road trip, I pay homage with a barely tweaked version of the Hornets game thread.)

Coverage Begins at 8:00 PM ET NOW!!!! TUNE INTO ESPN!!!

New Orlando: 42-15 (22-6 home)
Margin: +7.2 ppg (+4.6 last 25%)
Last 10:6-4

Pistons: 27-29 (13-14 road)
Margin: -1.2 (-6.0 last 25%)
Last 10: 2-8

Oppo research:

Let's see. Friday night road game against a team that is presently 22-6 at home? There is only one possibly outcome. The Pistons arbitrarily win by eight points. They'll do so by shooting 15-22 from three point range.

Of course, that is certainly not the most likely outcome. The New Orlando Magic have erased their woes against us by vastly outperforming Detroit this year offensively and defensively. The Magic aren't playing that well since losing Jameer Nelson to injury, but Rashard Lewis made the all-star team anyway. Someday, some curious teenager is going to scroll through all-star game box scores and blurt out "Rashard Lewis? Four time all-star?" Dwight Howard has found his Sleepy Floyd.

Actually, the Pistons have held up well against the Magic this season. In the last matchup between these two teams, Detroit prevailed even though they decided to Joaquin Phoenix the first five minutes of the fourth quarter (being outscored 4-0).

The Drama:

Hey look, the Pistons made the NBA frontpage on ESPN for once.

Keys for Detroit:

Man the perimeter: The Magic are a very good three point shooting team, and so are able to capitalize on Howard's unique ability to deform the defense. Howard's going to get his, but this team can still be stopped.

Send Howard to the line: Given that the Magic average 1.28 points per shot, consider this the equivalent of an intentional walk. As usual, Howard is starting to wear down as the season progresses, so aggressive defense will also mean more minutes for Marcin Gortat, though the latter has acquitted himself nicely in limited minutes.

Don't throw towels at people: It's not nice.

Question of the game:

Can we make it 11 in a row? Would any reasonable person favor the Pistons in any of their next three games?