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Magic vs. Pistons GameThread

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The Magic welcome Stan Van Gundy and the short-handed Pistons to the Amway Center Thursday night

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are back at home and looking to break their nine-game losing streak against a couple of familiar faces to fans of the organization. Inexplicably, Orlando has already suffered through two different nine-game losing streaks this season (through 35 games).

Head Coach Stan Van Gundy's Pistons are 19-14 and currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. Detroit is led in scoring by former Magic forward Tobias Harris, who is contributing a career-best 18.1 points per game. Of course, Harris played parts of four seasons for the Magic before being dealt to the Pistons in early 2015.

Harris scored 30 points in Detroit's last outing Tuesday night against the Pacers.

The Pistons, winners of five of their last six games, will be without their starting back-court tonight against the Magic. Avery Bradley has missed Detroit's last five games as he works his way back from a groin injury. And Reggie Jackson, the team's starting point guard, went down Tuesday night with a sprained ankle. The team is calling Jackson's injury a Grade 3 sprain of his right ankle. He will be reevaluated in six to eight weeks.

The Magic are no strangers to dealing with injured starters. Orlando played Tuesday night in Miami for the first time since losing starting center Nikola Vucevic, who suffered a broken left hand in Washington last Saturday. Vucevic had his surgery yesterday, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. The Magic dropped their contest in Miami 107-89.

Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier are both listed as "questionable" and are considered to be game-time decisions.

"I'm expecting both of them (Gordon and Fournier) to play," coach Frank Vogel said. "Both of them expressed that they felt pretty good (during warm-ups), and should be good to go."

Gordon has missed Orlando's last five games with a strained right calf. Fournier, who missed eight games with a sprained ankle, returned to the lineup Tuesday night in Miami. He scored 14 points.

The Pistons defeated the Magic 114-110 on the 17th of December in Detroit. Jonathon Simmons scored 23 points in that contest, and forward Mario Hezonja scored a career high 28 points (connected on eight three-point attempts). The Pistons had six players in double figures, led by Reggie Bullock's 20 points.

Quick Notes & Quotes:
- Coach Vogel on preparing for Ish Smith, opposed to Reggie Jackson: "Ish is equally as good (as Jackson). Not as good of a perimeter shooter, but probably more lighting quick getting to the basket. We've got to understand that they (Detroit) played some of their best basketball last year when Ish was starting for them, so we have to be prepared in that regard."

- Vogel on the challenge of dealing with a team that has lost nine in a row: "Focusing on controllables. Understanding that it's not about the guys that are out as much as doing the things that we know we can do. We can control boxing out. We can control the way we pass, sprinting in both directions, and getting on the floor for loose balls."

- Vogel on Fournier: "He's got a lot of fight. Evan Fournier has a very competitive spirit, and we've missed that."

Leave your in-game comments below. And as always, enjoy!

Detroit Pistons (19-14, Won 2 in a row) @ Orlando Magic (11-24, Lost 9 in a row)

December 28th, 2017

Amway Center

7:00 P.M. EST

TV: Fox Sports Florida

PROJECTED STARTERS:

Ish Smith

PG

Elfrid Payton

Luke Kennard

SG

Jonathon Simmons

Reggie Bullock

SF

Evan Fournier

Tobias Harris

PF

Aaron Gordon

Andre Drummond

C

Bismack Biyombo

DETROIT

ORLANDO

95.5 (22ND of 30)

PACE

99.7 (7th of 30)

107.7 (13th of 30)

O-RTG

104.9 (25th of 30)

106.4 (9th of 30)

D-RTG

110.7 (26th of 30)