Orlando Magic @ Detroit Pistons


After winning their fourth straight game with a 102-96 come-from-behind victory over the Toronto Raptors Sunday night, the Magic will look to make it five straight when they take on the Detroit Pistons Monday night.

The Pistons got their first win Saturday, a 96-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers, after starting the season 0-3.

The Magic enter the game ranking seventh in offensive efficiency (105.2) and 13th in defensive efficiency (97.8). The Pistons are 22nd in offense (95.5) and tied for 27th in defense (106.9).

Tip-off from the the Palace of Auburn Hills is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports.

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.

The officials for tonight’s game are Tony Brothers, Kevin Fehr and David Jones.

The Line: Orlando – 3.0 (183.0)


Detroit Pistons

Greg Monroe
Jonas Jerebko
Tayshaun Prince
Ben Gordon
Rodney Stuckey

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Ryan Anderson
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

The Magic gave a poor effort for most of the game Sunday night before dominating the fourth quarter, outscoring the Raptors 32-15. The Magic trailed by as many as 16 and the rally even had Dwight Howard comparing his current squad to the team that reached the 2009 NBA Finals. I don’t think anyone’s ready to go that far, especially with the low level of competition the Magic have defeated (Want a step up? They’ll host Chicago Friday night), but this young season has certainly been encouraging.

In terms of talent and statistical evidence, this game really shouldn’t be close. The Pistons are in the bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency so far in this young season. However, the Pistons did play much better Saturday, holding the Pacers to just 88 points on 39.5% shooting from the field in the victory. Plus, the Pistons had Sunday off and didn’t have to travel after their game Saturday while the Magic played at home Sunday and almost immediately boarded a plane to Detroit afterwards. Fatigue could be a factor.

Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has mostly stuck to an eight-man rotation with Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick and Glen Davis off the bench, but on nights like this, he’s going to have to think about using more players. Don’t be surprised to see Earl Clark and Quentin Richardson get some burn tonight.

Greg Monroe is turning into a very nice player and has put up 14.8 points and 8.5 in 31.3 minutes per game through four games in his sophomore campaign. Jonas Jerebko, who joins Monroe up front, is averaging 13.8 and 7.0. Neither one of these two can really get down low and bang with Howard. We’ll probably see more of the undersized (not weight-wise) Jason Maxiel, who’s given Orlando trouble in the past and 37-year old veteran and former Magic power forward, Ben Wallace, on Howard. Despite their past success, its hard to envision either player slowing Howard too much. They’ll be in the game to hack, foul and try to frustrate Howard.

If the Magic can come out with good energy on the second night of a back-to-back, they should be able to end the night with a record of 5-1.

Ryan Anderson continues to have a big season. He scored 24 more points Sunday, upping his season average to a team-high 20.4 points per game. Howard is averaging 17.4 points and 17.0 rebounds per game.

Ben Gordon leads the Pistons with 16.0 points per game, while Monroe’s 8.5 rebounds per game is a team-high.

Pistons Resources:

Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Free Press
Full Court Press – MLive.com
Life On Dumars
Need 4 Sheed
Piston Post
Piston Powered

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)