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Whichever Piston starts at center, Dwight Howard will be a handful

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic

Date: Jan. 24, 2011

Time: 7 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 16-28

Magic: 29-15

Probable starters

Pistons:

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Jason Richardson
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Brandon Bass
  • Dwight Howard

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +12

Over/under: 192

Score: Magic win, 102-90

Three things to watch

1. Who will start at center?

I’m intrigued whether Ben Wallace or Greg Monroe will start at center tonight. Earlier in the day, I explained why Wallace should get the nod.

2. Pistons’ fatigue

Before the season, I wrote of tonight’s game:

Third game in three cities in four nights + playing premier team = loss.

That still sounds right, but with the Pistons’ recent resiliency, they have a chance. If Detroit competes to the end, tonight will be encouraging.

3. Containing Dwight Howard

OK, I guess should add one new thought for this post. Historically, the Pistons have defended Dwight Howard’s Magic better than any team. Detroit’s luck might fully run out tonight if it hasn’t already. Howard was just named the Eastern Conference player of the Week for averaging 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.

Pregame Reading

7 Comments

  • Jan 24, 20119:46 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Just ended…..what an improbably victory for the Pistons on the road. Key stat: Turnovers: Orlando – 16 Pistons – 7. Great win!

  • Jan 24, 201110:11 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    1) i don’t know if i trust this chris sheridan character. he says rip is one of the pistons’ biggest assets. meanwhile, everyone else with a computer or vocal chords describes him as “untradable.” i hope he’s right, but i have a feeling he’s just one of those schmoes who’s high as hell on ol’ ripper.
     
    2) good game. good win, even though orlando did not play particularly well and surely took the pistons a bit lightly. but the team played well. some very good individual performances, good team play, good defense for the most part. very little to complain about, except…
     
    …while i’m pretty firmly convinced that the pistons are the seventh best team in the east at this point and would likely make the playoffs if they stick with this rotation, i’m plenty nervous that joe will refrain from deadline trades under the pretense that the team is “moving in the right direction.” only, there wasn’t any other direction to go in. i’ve been saying for what feels like an eternity that keeping a point guard on the floor and cutting any one of our shooting guards out of the rotation would make a major difference. all they’ve really done is just keep everyone playing IN position. it’s not any more complicated than that.
     
    i just look at t-mac playing up a storm and making good decisions, prince playing the best basketball of his life and rip and max rotting on the bench while eating up almost $18 million annually… something has to give. it’s not like stuckey or gordon are really producing anything rip couldn’t provide.
     
    thing is, if keeping this team together means a playoff berth, i think that becomes too tempting for joe to resist. but where does that leave us next year?? it’s not like we’re going to bring back all of these expiring players. if we were still playing terrible basketball, at least i’d have the confidence that things were going to get seriously shaken up in the next month. yet somehow, suddenly playing competent basketball has me worried. it would be a real shame to let the short-term reward of a playoff berth might mean squandering assets that are positively ripe for rolling over.
     
    this may be a recurring theme for me for the next month, but it’s now i feel.

  • Jan 24, 201111:29 pm
    by JoshB

    Reply

    @laser
    I’m not really worried that this recent success is gonna make Joe wanna stand pat. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, Joe isn’t stupid. I’m sure if there’s an opportunity to gain more financial flexibility, or more young building blocks he’ll take it. I however agree that I don’t wanna see us get so locked in on looking for this playoff push that we lose sight of long term goals, but it is nice to have a watchable effort on the court.

  • Jan 25, 20115:50 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Laser, what position did Tracy McGrady play before this year? What position is he playing this year? How is that working?

  • Jan 25, 20112:00 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    uh… shooting guard/small forward before this year, point guard lately. it’s working fine. why are you asking these questions?

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