After having waived Josh Smith, there is a new found fun-ness about the Pistons. They have been playing rather loose and seem to enjoy playing with each other. They beat one of the best defensive teams by scoring their most points of the season, 119 against the Indiana Pacers. They followed that game up with beating a potential title contender, the Cleveland Cavaliers, by 23 points ... in their house. Though their overall record is 7-23, over these last two games it really has not felt like it.
The Orlando Magic come in having won three of their last four including a game against Miami last night. The Magic are 13-21 because of their defense more than their offense. They are 29th in the league at 94.2 points per game and 28th in the league with 19.9 assists per game. While their team field goal percentage is average, their three point shooting is fourth in the league.
This is a game that Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond should dominate offensively. Though the Magic are an average defensive team, they are 7th worst at guarding shots inside of five feet allowing teams to shoot 60.9-percent. Also, they are only 24th in the league at blocking shots. However, Andre makes most of his offense on offensive rebounds and the Magic are fifth in the league on defensive rebounding. This may be a game where feeding Andre off lobs are likely his lone source of offense.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Andre Drummond
I was half tempted to put Brandon Jennings here because he has been playing quite well since Josh Smith left. However, so has Andre. In his last three games, Drummond is averaging 18 points on 61.5-percent shooting to go along with 14.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. The only thing that has not been great has been his free throw shooting, which is starting to get further and further away from 50-percent than it was earlier this season.
Magic: Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is someone to watch out for. He is a 24-year-old 7-footer who is having a wonderful season. He is currently averaging 18.4 points per game on 52.7-percent shooting to go along with his 11.5 rebounds per game. These are numbers we expect Andre to be putting up. He is the type of player that could give Andre problems.
Last Time We Met
November 17th, 2014 in Detroit. The Pistons lost 107-93 after leading at the half by three. They were even only down by two entering the fourth quarter. The Magic got huge games from Tobias Harris (24 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals) and Nikola Vucevic (25 points, 14 rebounds and three assists). Caron Butler and Brandon Jennings were the lone bright spots for Detroit. Butler would score 20 points (including 3-for-5 from deep) and carom six rebounds. Jennings would score 18 (including 5-for-7 from deep) to go with his six assists, three rebounds and three steals. The Big Three would combine to shoot 10-for-28 for 25 points and collect 17 rebounds (0 for Josh Smith). Pretty much, Vucevic did everything those three did.
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
When: 7:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 30
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Pistons have been hot offensively the last two games. I expect that to cool off some, but I also expect their defense to be better. It will be a close one.
Pistons 95, Magic 91
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Monroe, Drummond
Magic: Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Kyle O'Quinn, Nikola Vucevic
Can the Pistons keep their hot 3-point shooting going?
Opponent perspective: Orlando Pinstriped