Finally, the dreaded matinees are over, and midweek matinees on top of that. I understand it's a community event in Charlotte, but the time and day combination made it really hard for fans to watch online, as I understand no tickets were sold to the game. Nonetheless, the Pistons continue the road trip with a match-up in central Florida to the third-worst team in the East last season, and they haven't gotten much better.
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
When: 7 PM E.T.
Watch: No TV. It's on ESPN 580 radio in central Florida. 105.1 FM in Detroit.
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
The Pistons enter this match-up with confidence after a surprisingly easy victory vs Charlotte on Wednesday. The big 3 combined well and D.J. Augustin had his best game of the preseason, leading all Pistons scorers with 16 points and adding six assists. Brandon Jennings, however, continues to polarize, contributing nine assists to one turnover, but only going 1-7 from the field. Also, the free-throw shooting continues to worry, going 18-28 (still far better than the 9-22 they bricked up against Washington). I have not received any indication of the starting lineup for this game (not that anyone would tell me), but it wouldn't surprise me to see the big 3 trotted out again, considering how effective they were. However, as mentioned before on this site by a brilliant commenter (apologies to whomever it was, I've forgotten, just h/t yourself in the comments), one main reason why the Big 3 worked against Charlotte was because of the offensively inept Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at SF, meaning Josh Smith had little to do defensively.
Orlando comes into the game after a 106-88 victory over Brazilian side Rio de Janeiro Flamengo (just rolls off the tongue). Nikola Vucevic pounded the Brazilians, finishing with 20 points on 8-12 shooting to go with 11 rebounds. Lottery pick Aaron Gordon added 15 points while Tobias Harris pitched in 14. Pistons fans will also get to see the pioneer-of-taking-the-qualifying-offer-and-then-screwing-another-team-over-by-accepting-a-large-salary-to-do-nothing, Ben Gordon, in action against said fools who offered him said contract.
Players to Watch
Pistons: Brandon Jennings
Jennings will go up against rookie PG Elfrid Payton here, and has a chance to get himself going offensively. Jennings has really struggled with his shot this preseason, and will need to begin to hit with more consistency to open up driving lanes which may lead to drive-and-kick opportunities to the Pistons' new arsenal of distance snipers. That being said, his distribution has already been top quality, so if he can get his scoring going, he will be a valuable asset.
Ben Gordon Nikola Vucevic
One of the league's more talented up and coming big men, Vucevic is noted for his skill and footwork in the post, as well as his consistent rebounding presence. He's one of the throwback style of centers, like Al Jefferson and Greg Monroe, in that he's very offensively gifted in a number of facets, and does not rely on athleticism. Andre Drummond handled Jefferson well on Wednesday (albeit it was preseason, and the Hornets just sucked), so this will be able to give a barometer of how well his low post has really progressed, as Vucevic is a similar, if not unpolished version of Jefferson.
Pistons are in some good form, and the systems being implemented by SvJesus (copyright pending) are starting to take shape. I'm anticipating a comfortable victory on the scoreboard, but maybe a close battle physically.
Pistons 107 - 92 Magic
Pistons: Jennings, Singler, Smith, Monroe, Drummond
Magic: Payton, Fournier, Harris, A. Gordon, Vucevic
Pistons: Meeks (back), Dinwiddie (knee), Gray (heart), Caldwell-Pope (knee)
Magic: Oladipo (knee), Frye (knee)
Can Brandon Jennings rediscover his shot against the Magic?