Hey, sorry I Joaquined the Hawks game thread. But what better way to pay homage to Chuck Daly then to post game comments on his cancer thread, right? Right? I digress...
7:30 pm ET
Orlando: 46-16 (22-9 road)
Margin: +6.9 ppg (+2.3 last 25%)
Last 10: 7-3
Pistons: 31-30 (16-15 home)
Margin: -0.5 (-1.9 last 25%)
Let's face it. Orlando is not a contender without Jameer Nelson. He is the second best player on the team, and was the key to opening up their three point game. Trading for Rafer Alston probably helped some fantasy owners, but did little to improve the team.
Nonetheless, you can't overlook a win at Boston, especially given the Magic's outstanding defensive effort. And howzabout holding the Gentry Suns to 99 points? If anything, the Magic are proving that there is more to this team than what goes on behind the three point arc.
That said, the Pistons know this team, and they know precisely how to beat them. The Pistons have the opportunity to sweep a potential first round opponent, which should give them a hefty psychological advantage heading into the playoffs.
That's what you get for taking out Billups with a leg sweep, jerk.
Keys for Detroit:
Speed it up: Orlando has shown that they can thrive in the half-court game, even without Nelson. Yes, we held them to 85 points last time, but I don't think we can expect another 4-19 performance from the three point stripe.
Take it to Howard on D: We're going to do that anyway. This is the one team against which we seem to be able to take advantage of our plethora of bigs. HACK-A-HO!
Take it the guards: I suppose I should mention that this team is starting Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston. Hamilton for 40?
Question of the game:
Can the Pistons sweep? Again, this is looking more and more like a first round preview. If nothing else, it's a chance to put another win on the board against a division leader.