Struggling Magic to host Pistons
The Pistons are led by Rip Hamilton, averaging 21.6 ppg. Three other players, Chauncey Billups (18.8 ppg), Rasheed Wallace (15.1 ppg), and Tayshaun Prince (14.8 ppg) average in double figures. Of course, Big Ben Wallace (12.4 rebs, 2.3 blocks per game) is an imposing defensive presence. Antonio McDyess and Maurice Evans are key players off the bench. New Pistons coach Flip Saunders has done an outstanding job in his first season, as the Pistons have proven they are much better offensively than under the Larry Brown regime, while their defense remains just as imposing as before.
The Pistons are favored by 7 pts tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com), and rightfully so. The Magic are coming off a 94-89 2 OT loss to MIL. Poor FG shooting and 21 TOs really hurt the Magic. TDW should be just about sold out tonight, as I'm sure many people want to see the Pistons in action. If the Magic get energized by the big crowd, maybe somehow they could pull off a huge upset. If ATL can bet DET, so could the Magic (even though ATL beat the Magic also). They will have to play almost a perfect game to have a chance, which means fewer TOs, better offensive execution, good contributions off the bench, and solid defense. Will BHill ever make good use of his bench instead of wearing down the starters? I'd like to see Diener get some good minutes... he could really energize the crowd and the team with his dead-eye shooting.