Detroit At Orlando
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Friday, March 24, 2017
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
A lineup change failed to yield any dramatic improvements for the stumbling Detroit Pistons, who will try to snap out of their funk when they continue a four-game road trip at the Orlando Magic on Friday. The Pistons dropped the first two games on the trip and five of six overall to sink 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference entering Thursday.
Struggling point guard Reggie Jackson was moved to the bench for Wednesday's 117-95 loss at Chicago, but it made little difference for a squad that is now 11-24 on the road. "It starts with me," coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters after the loss. "I'm the person in charge. I selected everybody in that locker room. I decide who plays. I put lineups out there, you know. I decide on defensive coverages. I call plays. So it's all on me. I'm not running from that." The Magic saw their first winning streak of 2017 come to an end at two games when they fell 109-102 to Charlotte at home Wednesday night. Orlando led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter before fading late and falling within one loss of matching last season's total of 47.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit Plus, FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (34-38): Ish Smith replaced Jackson for his first start since Dec. 2 and finished with nine points and seven assists, while Jackson had six points and a minus-14 rating in just 20 minutes off the bench. Jackson is shooting 40.6 percent from the floor on the road this season and has been held to single digits in eight of his last nine contests away from home. Center Andre Drummond is averaging 18.5 rebounds over his last four games but has seen his woeful free-throw shooting take an even worse turn in that span, making just five of his 22 attempts.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (26-46): Orlando had a great chance to match its longest winning streak of the season against Charlotte but struggled to make plays and hit shots when it mattered most, a typical outcome for a team headed for its fifth straight season without a playoff berth. "Super frustrating," guard Elfrid Payton told reporters after a 15-point effort. "I definitely feel like we could have won this game. We played well enough for the most part of the game." Terrence Ross led the way with 19 points and he is averaging 16 over his last three outings, which comes on the heels of a four-game stretch in which he averaged 6.8.
1. Orlando lost seven straight meetings before a 98-92 win at Detroit on Dec. 4.
2. Pistons F Marcus Morris is shooting 31.7 percent - including 4-of-21 from 3-point range - over a five-game span.
3. Magic C Nikola Vucevic has three straight double-doubles and recorded at least 20 points in four of his last seven games.
PREDICTION: Pistons 100, Magic 97
Stats and Records
Orlando Off vs
100.2 Points For
102.2 Points Against