After losing their third straight game Sunday night, a 104-101 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic will try to turn things around when they take on the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night. The Pistons are coming off of a 110-107 overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats that improved their record to 19-33. The Magic enter with a record of 32-21.
These two teams met back on January 2 and the Pistons came away with an 89-78 victory. Dwight Howard had 19 points and seven rebounds while Ben Gordon led all scorers with 26 points.
The Magic rank 16th in offensive rating (104.6), 10th in defensive rating (102.7) and play at the league’s ffith-slowest pace (89.3). The Pistons are 27th in offensive rating (100.4), 24th in defensive rating (106.6) and play at the league’s second-slowest pace (88.8).
Tip-off from the the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on FS Florida.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are James Capers, Eric Dalen and Sean Wright.
The Line: Orlando – 5.5 (182u)
Ryan Anderson (sprained right ankle) is out.
Both Dwight Howard (back) and Jameer Nelson (hamstring) are game-time decisions.
If Howard can’t go, it will be interesting to see if Van Gundy insets J.J. Redick into the starting lineup and slides Hedo Turkoglu to the Four and Jason Richardson to the three or if he simply inserts Earl Clark into the lineup. If Nelson can’t go, Chris Duhon will start and Ish Smith will back him up.
Van Gundy told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel we might even see Daniel Orton and rookie Justin Harper.
Update: Howard and Nelson won’t play. Van Gundy will used Turkoglu at the four but instead of inserting Redick into the starting lineup and sliding Jason Richardson to the three, he’ll start Quentin Richardson at the three.
Rodney Stuckey (hamstring) is out for Detroit. Ben Gordon (sore groin) is questionable. Should both Stuckey and Gordon miss the game, the Pistons would be without 31.6% of their scoring and they’re already one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
If you like fast-paced, high scoring games, this might not be the matchup for you – these teams play at two of the five slowest paces in the league.
The Pistons have been led by second-year big man Greg Monroe. Monroe is averaging 15.8 points per game on 51.1% shooting from the field and is pulling down 9.8 boards per game. Monroe could continue his borderline All-Star season if he is matched up with Glen Davis (who, to be fair, had 18 points and 16 rebounds Sunday), but if Howard returns, it could spell trouble. Monroe mustered just 10 points and five rebounds in their first meeting.
With Rodney Stuckey out, rookie Brandon Knight will challenge Jameer Nelson. Knight is averaging 12.6 ppg but is shooting just 40.2% from the field (but is shooting nearly 37% from beyond the arc). Nelson, who has played very well lately, including a 27-point performance Sunday, should be able to exploit Knight and have another solid game.
The key for the Magic will be keeping teams out of the paint, something they didn’t do in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.
(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 on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, Brandon Knight, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Eal Clark, Greg Monroe, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Maxiel, Jason Richardson, Joe Dumars, Jonas Jerebko, Larry Hughes, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Rodney Stuckey, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Tayshaun Prince, Von Wafer