Pistons fight for playoff positioning in contest versus Magic


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The Orlando Magic head to Detroit to take on the Pistons. Orlando enters with a 35-38 record and 13-22 on the road. They are a game behind the Heat for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Detroit is 37-36 overall and 23-13 at home. A win would help their cause fighting for sixth seed in the conference.

The teams are very similar statistically. Orlando is 25th in scoring, while Detroit is 23rd. Both teams are stellar on defense, ranked 5th and 8th, respectively. Despite low scoring offenses, both teams are in the top ten in fewest turnovers. The Magic have a slightly better three-point shooting team, while both teams are in the middle of the pack in rebounding.

The Magic rely heavily upon All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 20.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. He is excellent from long range for a big man, hitting 37 percent from beyond the arc. DJ Augustin and Terrence Ross are also long distance threats and average a combined 26 points per game. Aaron Gordan is a very good second scoring option for the Magic, averaging 16 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Evan Fournier rounds out a relatively deep unit, averaging almost 15 per game.

Detroit has two stellar players in Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Griffin is an all-around threat, averaging 24.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while Drummond hammers opponents inside, scoring 17.3 and leading the league in rebounding at 15.4 per game.  Luke Kennard, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Jackson could make the Magic pay if their perimeter defense is lacking, knocking down 38 percent from beyond the arc.

This game is important for the lower part of the Eastern Conference playoff rankings. Orlando needs a win to stay in the hunt, so they have much to play for. Detroit can inch closer to locking up a playoff berth. This should be a low scoring game with the Pistons winning the game by a few points.

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