Pistons will try to cool off Orlando 3-point shooting

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: Jan. 2,  2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Records

  • Pistons: 1-3
  • Magic: 4-1

Probable starters

Pistons:

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Jason Richardson
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Dwight Howard

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +4

Over/under: 179.5

Score: Magic win, 91.75-87.75

Three things to watch

1. Guarding the 3-point line

In its last four games (all wins), Orlando has shot the following percentages from 3-point range: 44 percent, 43 percent, 43 percent, 41 percent. The Pistons have given up the following percentages to opponents in their three losses: 47 percent, 58 percent, 44 percent. The Magic are not a team to trifle with from distance. Most times, four of the five players on the court will be above average 3-point shooters, and they aren’t shy about launching. If the Pistons have trouble closing out on shooters again, this game could get out of hand quickly.

2. Can the inside presence continue?

No frontcourt in the league is equipped to handle Dwight Howard, and that includes Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe. But, fresh off their double double-doubles against Indiana, if both once again play with activity and energy on both ends of the court, they should be able to have some success against the Magic. Although they give up significant size to Howard, Orlando’s other frontcourt options are actually pretty decent matchups as Orlando starts a stretch four in Ryan Anderson and undersized players Earl Clark and Glen Davis also see minutes up front. Howard will be a mismatch at both ends, but the Pistons should be able to capitalize on some mismatches of their own depending on who Orlando has in the game next to Howard.

3. A Villanueva sighting?

Charlie Villanueva was eligible to play against Indiana but since he’s still working himself into game shape, he was held out. His offense, however, could prove useful against the Magic. Orlando has scored 100 or more points in three of five games — no small feat considering some of the ugly finals being put up across the league these days. Some bench scoring from Villanueva would go a long way towards making this game more competitive.

Tags: Charlie Villanueva Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko