Orlando Vs. Detroit
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The Orlando Magic easily overcame the absences of three of their best players in their last matchup with the Detroit Pistons.
With everyone healthy now, they likely aren’t too concerned about this meeting.
Orlando will try for a ninth consecutive home victory and a sixth straight against the Pistons on Monday night.
The Magic (29-15) cruised to a 104-91 victory at Detroit on Dec. 3 despite missing Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, who were all held out with flu-like symptoms. Orlando still shot a season-best 59.7 percent in that game thanks in part to Brandon Bass’ career-high 27 points on 11 of 12 from the floor.
Coach Stan Van Gundy’s team has thrived offensively during its eight-game home streak, scoring 106.1 points per game. The run is their longest since taking 11 straight Nov. 24, 2008-Jan. 9, 2009.
The Magic, who also beat Detroit 90-79 on Nov. 30, are coming off another impressive victory Saturday night, winning 118-104 at Houston behind an all-around team effort.
“Against a team like (the Magic), you’ve got to keep your concentration,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “If they burn you once, you’ve got to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again…they pretty much toyed with us after they got a 20-point lead.”
Seven players scored in double figures as the Magic shot 52.9 percent from the floor. They improved to 50-1 since the start of the 2008-09 season when shooting 50.0 percent or better.
“We have a lot of offensive guys who can do a lot of good stuff,” Hedo Turkoglu said after scoring a season-high 21 points. “When we move the ball inside out and play unselfishly, we’re really hard to guard.”
Howard, who had 22 points and 14 boards against the Rockets, is averaging 26.4 points and 14.1 rebounds in his last eight games.
The Magic’s 91.0 points allowed at home is the fourth-lowest total in the league, and they could be in line for another solid defensive effort against Detroit, which is averaging 77.0 points in its last three contests.
The Pistons (16-28) avoided a third straight loss Saturday, overcoming a 14-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter en route to a 75-74 victory over Phoenix. Tayshaun Prince had 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for Detroit, which held the high-scoring Suns to 13 fourth-quarter points for its fourth win in six games.
That stifling defense keyed the victory for the Pistons, who shot 35.8 percent and recorded their second win in 19 games when shooting below 43.0 percent.
“It was nice,” coach John Kuester told the Pistons’ official website. “It was great for the players. You could tell by the enthusiasm of the bench that they were into the game. It was a good win.”
Kuester’s team will be hard pressed to repeat that level of defense against the Magic, who have averaged 102.2 points during their five-game win streak in the series.
Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva could miss a second straight game after sitting out Saturday with a sprained ankle.
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