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Detroit Pistons (2-3) PG Rodney Stuckey SG Ben Gordon SF Jonas Jerebko PF Charlie Villanueva C Ben Wallace
Top story: There may be different names on the backs of their jerseys, but the Detroit Pistons still have a knack for beating the Magic. They outlasted the Magic 85-80 on Tuesday night, as Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum combined for 65 points. The Pistons have struggled otherwise, though, showing difficulty putting points on the board. Richard Hamilton (ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back) are both expected to miss tonight’s contest with injuries.
Who you’re watching: Ben Gordon is the one elite offensive player on Detroit, and if the Magic can bottle him up the Pistons will have a lot of trouble keeping up with Orlando’s offense – no matter how poorly Orlando is shooting.
Why they’ll win: With Vince Carter still out, the Pistons’ guards can abuse the Magic the same way they did on Tuesday night. If they can contain Howard – or get him in foul trouble, like they did on Tuesday – this team’s capable of winning another low-scoring game.
Orlando Magic (4-1) PG Jameer Nelson SG JJ Redick SF Matt Barnes PF Ryan Anderson C Dwight Howard
Top story: The Magic are coming off their best performance of the season, crushing the Suns on Wednesday night. However, the team’s loss to Detroit on Tuesday still leaves a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. After hearing about how the Pistons still have the Magic’s number – the Pistons have won 20 of the past 25 meetings – the Magic would surely like to come in here and post a convincing victory. It won’t be easy, though, as Vince Carter won’t play while he nurses an ankle injury. This from the Orlando Sentinel earlier today:
“I can honestly say that throughout my career I’ve had little injuries and come back not quite 100 percent and just tried to fight through it,” Carter said. “They don’t really believe in that. I know it’s just about the big picture and the long haul. They’re playing for a lot here. I’ve sat and talked with the staff, and I agree with them. So, I’m just doing the proper things to get back and get better.”
Who you’re watching: We’ll all be watching Dwight Howard, who displayed as much anger on Monday as he’s ever shown on the court. He should be able to feast on Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown, and after struggling against the Pistons two games ago, he’ll be looking for redemption. Additionally, keep an eye on how Redick sticks to Gordon.
Why they’ll win: Especially with Hamilton and Prince out, the Magic are too talented to keep losing to the Pistons. The Magic stayed in the game on Tuesday despite losing both Howard and Marcin Gortat to foul disqualification, and having Carter leave early because of his ankle injury. Full strength – well, missing Carter and Rashard Lewis, but that’s expected – the Magic should roll against this Pistons team.