Orlando Magic -1 (46-16) at Detroit Pistons +1 (31-30) O/U 187 7:30 PM ET Monday March 9, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Tonight the Orlando Magic head north to take on the Detroit Pistons. Everyone has been talking about the Cavaliers and Celtics in the East and their match up in the conference finals, but these 2 teams may have a thing or two to say about that. Even though the Pistons are coming off a loss they had won 4 straight without Allen Iverson in the lineup. The Magic are in the 3rd position in the East and they recently beat the defending champion Celtics in Boston last night. OK, so the Pistons don’t really have a shot in the East, but the Magic are legit this season and may surprise some people once the post season rolls around. In their last 10 games the Magic are 7-3 including winning 4 games in a row, while the Pistons are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
This season the Pistons are 16-15 at home and the Magic are 22-9 in away games.
Online Sportsbooks have the Magic as 1-point favorites with a total around 187. The Magic are posted at -115 as road favorites and the Pistons are posted at -105 as home dogs.
The Magic come into this game after beating the Celtics yesterday 86-79. The high scorer for the Magic in that game was Dwight Howard going for 18 points on 6/13 shooting and also grabbing 15 boards. For the game the Magic shot 33/75 for a FG% of 44%. On D is where the Magic won the game, as they held the Celtics to 30/76 shooting for a FG% of 39.5%.
The Pistons come into this game after losing to the Hawks on Saturday night 87-83. The high scorer for the Pistons in that game was Rip Hamilton going for 20 points on 9/19 shooting. For the game the Pistons shot 32/79 for a FG% of 40.5%. On D the Pistons allowed the Hawks to shoot 33/77 for a FG% of 42.9%.
Orlando ranks 8th in scoring this season in scoring (102.3 ppg), while the Pistons are not going to run up the score on anybody ranking 29th (93.4 ppg). On defense the Pistons are legit, ranking 5th in points allowed (93.9 ppg) and the Magic rank 9th (95.4 ppg). The Magic are a better team on the glass having a rebounding differential of +1.2 rpg, while the Pistons are ay -0.2 rpg.
This season the Magic are the best team to bet on ATS, as they are 38-22-1, while the Pistons are not making people betting on them happy only being 25-26. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Magic are 30-30-1 and the Pistons are 32-30-1.
On the injury front Allen Iverson is day-to-day for the Pistons and the Magic are not reporting any significant injuries.
The Pistons rank in the top-5 in the NBA in defense and they will have to play great defense tonight to cool off the hot Magic and Dwight Howard. The Pistons do not have the best interior D, but Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess have to be physical with Howard (21 ppg 14 rpg) and not let him dominate the paint and the boards.
The Pistons also have to play good perimeter defense, as the Magic are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league.
Rip Hamilton (17.7 ppg) has looked like his old All-Star self since he rejoined the starting lineup with Iverson out. He has killed the Magic recently, as in his last 3 games against Orlando he is averaging 31.3 ppg.
Hedo Turkoglu (17.3 ppg) is one of the better 3 point bombers in the league, but he will have to play good D on Tayshaun Prince (13.7) and not let him get to the hoop and hit open J’s.
This game, pretty much, revolves on how the Pistons play on Howard, as if he plays well the Pistons have little chance, but if they play solid D against him they can win this game.
The Pistons have won both meetings with the Magic this season and they have won 13 of 14 against Orlando, which includes post-season play.
If the Pistons hope to do any damage in the playoffs they have to win these types of games and get some confidence.
If the season were to end today this would be the first round playoff match up.
Jason’s Pick: I like the Pistons.