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Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic


After defeating the Houston Rockets Saturday, the Orlando Magic will look to keep up their winning ways when they host the Detroit Pistons Monday night.

The Pistons, who have given the Magic more heartache than any other team, knocking them out of the postseason on thee separate occasions, have struggled over the past two season. They are just 16-28 this season but having been playing better and are a one-point win over the Phoenix Suns Saturday night. Detroit is fourth in the Central division and 11th in the east but are only two games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the eight seed.

The Magic have now won three straight games to improve to 29-15, two games behind the Miami Heat in the Southeast division. They are fourth in the east, 4.5 games behind first place Boston.

The Pistons are 29th in pace (88.8), 23rd in offensive rating (104.8) and 24th in defensive rating (109.6).

These twos teams have met twice this year with the Magic winning both contests. Back on November 30th, the Magic defeated the Pistons 90-79 in Detroit behind a balanced effort. On December 3rd, the two teams met again. The Magic were plagued by the flu and were without Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick yet still found a way to earn a 104-91 victory. Brandon Bass led the Magic with 27 points off the bench while Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 30 points.

The game will be shown locally on FSN Florida. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

Tip off from the the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST.

The Line: Orlando – 12.0 (193.5)


Detroit Pistons

Greg Monroe
Chris Wilcox
Tayshaun Prince
Tracy McGrady
Rodney Stuckey

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Brandon Bass
Hedo Tukoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

The Pistons have been bothered by injuries throughout the season. Jonas Jerebko had right Achilles surgery and is out 5-6 months. Charlie Villanueva and Ben Wallace both have sprained ankles. Wallace played Saturday night while Villanueva sat out. Terrico White had right foot surgery and is out indefinitely.

For the Magic, Malik Allen is questionable with a sprained left ankle while Daniel Orton (left knee surgery) is our indefinitely.

The officials will be Bennett Salvatore, Kane Fitzgerald and Courtney Kirkland.

Opponent To Watch: Tracy McGrady, G/F – Okay, so T-Mac is only averaging 6.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game and had just three points in his last outing. And yes, McGrady has only posted over 20 points twice points this season but McGrady is one of the greatest players in the history of the Magic and when he’s town, Magic fans still keep their eyes on him. McGrady has faced the Magic 19 times in his career, averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. In two games against the Magic this year, he’s totaled seven points. However, we all remember McGrady’s four season in Orlando. Although he was hurt during his final season and demanded a trade at the conclusion of the year, McGrady was an all-star in each season, was the 2000-2001 Most Improved Player and led the NBA in scoring during both the 2002-03 season and the 2003-04 season,

What To Watch For: This is a game the Magic shouldn’t have a whole of trouble winning. They are the better team and Pistons should be overmatched. The Pistons really struggle to score and defend very poorly. They also play at the second slowest pace in the entire league so look for the Magic to push the pace as much as possible.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).