Tonight’s game: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m.

TV: FSN Radio: 580 WDBO Orlando Magic (3-0) PG Jameer Nelson SG Vince Carter SF Matt Barnes PF Ryan Anderson C Dwight Howard Top story: Mickael Pietrus is still out, but Vince Carter is expected to return after missing Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle. In 39 career games against Detroit, Carter is averaging 20.1 points and shooting 40.2 percent – those numbers are lower than any other team in the Eastern Conference, by far. Carter should have an easier road today against the undersized Ben Gordon. Who you’re watching: Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard have been slapped around by the Pistons for most of their career, seeing their season end at the hands of Detroit in 2007 and 2008 and losing 14 of 18 regular-season contests against the Pistons. Some of the faces in Detroit may be different, but the Magic’s franchise duo would certainly enjoy taking it to the guys in red, white and blue. Why they’ll win: With Carter back, the Magic won’t have to shoot the lights out like they did when they shot 53 percent from three-point range against the Raptors. But the Magic will have to play better defense. Allowing the Raptors to score with such efficiency won’t equate to a win, most of the time. Detroit Pistons (1-2) PG Rodney Stuckey SG Ben Gordon SF Tayshaun Prince PF Charlie Villanueva C Ben Wallace Top story: The new-look Pistons, who added Gordon, Villanueva and Ben Wallace and lost Rasheed Wallace in the offseason, are coming off back-to-back convincing losses to Oklahoma City and Minnesota. Richard Hamilton is still out with an ankle injury, levying the Pistons with little depth outside of their first five and Jason Maxiell. With the team accustoming to so many new faces, how it will show up each night is a bit of a mystery. Who you’re watching: I’ve yet to watch Gordon or Villanueva this season, so I’ll be tuned in to how they fit in. On paper I feel like this could be a playoff team – healthy Rip Hamilton permitting – but it’s unclear if the pieces will fit the right way. Why they’ll win: Defense hasn’t been the problem for Detroit; it’s been the offense. If Gordon and the offense can score at a decent clip – and we all know Gordon can get hot – the Pistons can create enough stops down the stretch to upend the Magic.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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