The Orlando Magic kick off a week filled with four contests against Central Division teams this evening when they host the Detroit Pistons. Orlando's thumped the Pistons twice this year, but this Pistons team has shuffled a few rotation pieces since those meetings. Three of Detroit's starters tonight have yet to start against Orlando this season. Among those three is former Magic All-Star Tracy McGrady, now earning positive reviews from Pistons fans for averaging 6.7 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting, as well as rookie center Greg Monroe, who is benefiting from finishing his teammates' passes at the rim instead of taking jumpers. Though 16-28, the Pistons are but two games out of the East's final playoff seed.
Coach Stan Van Gundy wants his team to avoid playing at the Pistons' glacial pace, a wise strategy. Somehow, Detroit managed to lull the Phoenix Suns to sleep over the weekend, limiting that run-and-fun unit to 74 points. As Rohan Cruyff illustrated at the SB Nation NBA mothership today, the Pistons run the league's most deliberate offense. Orlando's at its best when it exploits its early offensive options, which include fastbreak triples and Dwight Howard's rim-runs.
The feud between Pistons coach John Kuester and shooting guard Richard Hamilton will likely keep Hamilton off the court yet again. The veteran, in his ninth year as a Piston, has tallied seven consecutive Did Not Play-Coach's Decisions. Though Hamilton isn't much of a player anymore, he's played well against the Magic in the last three seasons, with four performances of 29-plus points in nine games overall, so they appear to have caught a break here.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|16-28 (4-19 road) |
|29-15 (17-5 home) |
|January 24th, 2011|
|Rodney Stuckey||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Tracy McGrady||SG||Jason Richardson|
|Tayshaun Prince||SF||Hedo Turkoglu|
|Chris Wilcox||PF||Brandon Bass|
|Greg Monroe||C||Dwight Howard|
|November 30th: Magic 90, Pistons 79|
|December 3rd: Magic 104, Pistons 91|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|88.8 (T-29th)||Pace||92.0 (17th)|
|104.8 (23rd)||ORtg||108.6 (11th)|
|109.6 (24th)||DRtg||102.1 (4th)|