The Magic have won two games in a row.
So, to kick off the preview for Wednesday night’s Magic/Pistons game, I’d like to hand things over to the manager from the movie “Major League.”
“We won a game yesterday. We win one today, that’s two in a row. We win one tomorrow that called a winning streak. It has happened before.”
The Magic are seeking a three-game winning streak, something they accomplished only twice last season. In fact, since Dwight Howard left town in 2012, the Magic have had just 12 winning streaks of three games or more.
With the Magic coming off an impressive win at San Antonio and an Evan Fournier buzzer-beater that capped a comeback win over the Cavaliers, the only thing standing between Orlando and that elusive three-game winning streak are the Detroit Pistons, who have dropped five straight games.
”It’s huge to build momentum so that we can really believe in ourselves and believe we can beat anyone, because we can,” Fournier told reporters after Monday’s win. “But the more we do it, the more we gain confidence. Now, we have two tough games coming up against two tough teams, so it’s going to be another good test for us.’”
The Magic, behind a pair of efficient performances by Aaron Gordon, have shot just over 47 percent from the field in their previous two wins. That has helped them at least temporarily remove the stigma of having the league’s lowest shooting percentage (Now only second worst! The Magic’s 42.6 percent is a whole one-tenth of a point better than the Houston Rockets).
The Pistons, who after winning their first four games are now 4-5, have also struggled with their shot this season, shooting just one-tenth of a point better than the Magic at 42.7 percent. The Pistons offensive rating of 104.8 points per 100 possessions (sixth worse in league), is also slightly better than the Magic’s rating of 101.7 points per (second worst).
Nikola Vucevic will have his hands full on the glass with Andre Drummond, the league’s leading rebounder at 16.3 per game. The Pistons, who have dropped two overtime losses during their current losing streak, have also been propelled by the rebirth of Blake Griffin, who is averaging 28.1 points and 11.3 rebounds this season.
For a team like the Pistons that rebounds well but shoots poorly (30.6 percent from three, which is second worst in the league), it will be important for the Magic to limit offensive rebounds and deny second chance opportunities. No team in the league is better at providing those second chances than the Pistons, who average a league-best 12.9 offensive boards per game.
Making that more complicated for the Magic will be the absence of Jonathan Isaac, who is expected to miss a third straight game due to a sprained ankle.
Jonathan Isaac, who will not play tonight because of his sprained ankle, is able to put up some post-shootaround jumpers. That said, he would not have practiced today if today had been a practice day instead of a game day, Steve Clifford said.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) November 7, 2018
Orlando must move the ball and shoot the way they did in the first three quarters against San Antonio and close out the game the way they did against Cleveland. Let’s see if the Magic can build off the momentum of those previous two wins and string together that rare, post-Dwight three-game winning streak.
It has happened before.