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Eastern Conference Semifinals: Pistons vs. Magic, Game Three

Eastern Conference Semifinals
Detroit Pistons main logo
Orlando Magic main logo
Pistons Lead Series, 2-0
Amway Arena
8:00 PM
Probable starters:
C. Billups PG Jameer Nelson
R. Hamilton SG Maurice Evans
Tayshaun Prince SF Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Maxiell PF Rashard Lewis
R. Wallace C Dwight Howard
Series Central

The only thing the Pistons have done so far in this series -- apart from win, yes -- is defend their home floor. If the Magic can do the same thing tonight and Saturday night, the series heads back to Detroit for Game Five with the teams even. Let's not worry about the fact that, in losing the first two games of the series on the road, the Magic face long odds to advance. Right now, all they can worry about, and all we can worry about, is winning tonight. Forget about the blowout in Game One. Forget about the clock malfunction in Game Two. Forget about the team plane needing to make a precautionary landing in Cincinnati after Game Two.

Just. Win. Tonight.

How? Hitting threes and free-throws would be a start. In their two wins against the Pistons this year, the Magic shot 21-of-37 (56.8%) from three-point range and 46-of-60 (76.7%) from the foul line. In their four losses, they're 29-of-86 (33.7%) from three-point range and 75-of-115 (65.2%!) from the foul line. Combined, that's a 16-point differential per game, and their losses have come by an average of 14 points.

A loss tonight and we're done. A win tonight and this series will go the distance. The Magic haven't given any indication that they intend to give up. And that's all we can ask for: their best effort.

And now, for your consumption, some Four Factors-y goodness for both teams. The splits show puzzling results. The Magic fare better against the Pistons when they rebound poorly? Um, what?

Orlando Magic Four Factors, 2007-2008 NBA Season
Pace O Rtg eFG% TO Rate OReb Rt FT Rt
Wins vs. DET 90 113.9 .572 15.6 17.5 33.1
Losses vs. DET 87 100.6 .468 15.2 24.4 25.5
Diff. +3 +13.3 +.104 +0.4 -6.9 +7.6

Detroit Pistons Four Factors, 2007-2008 NBA Season
Pace O Rtg eFG% TO Rate OReb Rt FT Rt
Wins vs. ORL 87 117.2 .527 12.4 29.5 24.5
Losses vs. ORL 90 102.8 .439 13.3 29.9 25.8
Diff. -3 +14.4 +.088 -0.9 -0.4 +1.3