Detroit Pistons vs. Orlando Magic Preview and Pick – Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3

Detroit Pistons (59-23 regular season) +3 , o/u 187 at Orlando Magic (52-30), 8 pm Eastern Wednesday, TNT
by Zman of

The Detroit Pistons got a little help from a friendly timekeeper in taking a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semi-finals series vs. the Orlando Magic Monday night. So as the series moves to Florida for the next couple of games, the Magic will be looking for a little home cookin’ of their own if they hope to stay in it.

NBA Bookmakers list Orlando as 3 1/2-point home chalk for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 187. Also, the Magic are posted at right around -175 on various Vegas moneylines, with Detroit getting upwards of +160 as road underdogs.

The Pistons won the Central Division this season by 14 games, then beat Philadelphia in six games in the first round of the playoffs. And they grabbed a 2-0 lead in this series by wining game one 92-71 and game two Monday 100-93. They were helped along the way in game two by 19 Orlando turnovers and a long clock at the end of the third quarter that resulted in a 3-point basket that ended up coming in very handy at the end of the game.

Orlando financial backers must have been crying in their beers when the Pistons, as six-point home favorites, turned a three-point lead with 11 seconds to go into a seven-point victory.

The Magic had rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit Monday night to take a four-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the game. But Orlando scored just nine points after that.

The Magic won the Southeast Division this season by nine games, then dispatched of the Toronto Raptors in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

Detroit, which is shooting for its sixth straight berth in the Eastern Conference finals, went 43-35 against the spread during the regular season, and is 6-2 vs. the numbers in the playoffs. The Pistons also went 25-16 straight up but only 19-21 ATS on the road during the regular season.

Meanwhile, Orlando went 50-29 against the spread during the regular season, but is only 3-4 vs. the numbers in the playoffs. Also, the Magic went 25-16 straight up and 23-15 ATS at home during the regular season.

Detroit swept Orlando out of the playoffs in the first round last season. This regular season, these two teams split four games, with each team winning once on the other’s home court. So over the course of the six meetings in the series this season between these two teams, the Pistons have gone 4-2 both straight up and against the spread, while the totals have gone 4-2, as the games have averaged 191 total points.

Also, Detroit has outshot the Magic from the field in those last six games 47% to 45%, and outrebounded Orlando by a 42-36 per-game average.

Statistically speaking, the Pistons ranked 2nd in the league in point differential during the regular season at +7.4 per game, shot 46% from the floor as a team, 37% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line, ranked 3rd in FG defense at 44%, 7th in rebounding at +2.3 per game, and posted a 22/11 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio.

On the other side of this match-up, the Magic ranked 5th in point differential during the regular season at +5.5 per game, shot 47% from the field, 39% from beyond the arc but just 72% from the line, ranked 7th in FG defense at 45%, 17th in rebounding at +.3 per game, and put up a 21/14 per-game A/TO ratio.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks Detroit 3rd in the league at 97.4, Orlando 7th at 95.0. Sagarin’s current home-court advantage figure is 3.8.

On the injury front, Orlando center Dwight Howard is dealing with a sore thumb, but is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game.

The o/u went 37-44 in Pistons games during the regular season, which averaged 188 total points per, and is 3-5 in Detroit playoff games this year. Meanwhile, the totals went 36-44 in Magic games during the regular season, which averaged 204 total points, and is 3-4 in Orlando playoff games this year.

Zman’s Pick: Experience wins out here. I like the Pistons plus the points.