Pistons try to avoid second loss to Orlando in less than a week

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (2-9) at Orlando Magic (3-7)
  • Date: November 21, 2012
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Like any struggling team, the Orlando Magic have plenty of weaknesses. But the most glaring, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, has been the offense:

The Magic aren’t playing to at least one of their strengths: long-distance shooting.

Redick, Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson and E’Twaun Moore are good 3-point shooters, but through Monday, the Magic ranked 29th among the NBA’s 30 teams in treys attempted, trying just 13.5 per game.

Yet, at the same time, Orlando also is failing to draw shooting fouls. The Magic ranked last in free-throws attempted, taking only 16.9 per game.

Asked after Monday’s 81-72 loss in Atlanta what is stalling his team’s offense, coach Jacque Vaughnnoted that the night’s 19 turnovers hindered everything else.

The Magic ranked 22nd in the league in turnovers made, with 15.6 per game.

Of course, it’s a pretty tough sell to anyone who watched the first game between these two teams last week that the Magic are struggling on offense. Orlando shot 49 percent in that game. The Magic made 41 percent of their 3-pointers. The team scored 110 points, 22 above their season average. Orlando also scored 39 points in the fourth quarter alone.

It’s amazing what leaving shooters, even struggling shooters, open all night will do for their confidence. The Pistons responded to that embarrassing home loss to Orlando with a fantastic defensive effort in a blowout win over Boston on Sunday. If the Pistons do a better job of closing out on shooters and keeping Orlando’s limited but active big men off the offensive glass (the Magic had 14 offensive rebounds, several of which led to open jumpers, in the first game), they’ll have a chance at putting together that modest yet elusive first two-game winning streak of the season.

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