Time is Now For Magic
Take care of the ball. Don't force shots. Find the open man. And don't get frustrated.
They have done that for stretches of their second-round, best-of-seven series - none more impressive than a 36-point third quarter in a 100-93 loss on Monday.
They just haven't done nearly enough of it.
``We made some bad decisions and some tough shots down the stretch, and got away from playing the way that we had played when things were going well,'' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Down 2-0 to a team that has made five straight appearances in the Eastern Conference finals, the Magic realize they'll have to play a nearly perfect game when the series returns to Orlando on Wednesday.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Orlando –3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 186 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Orlando -3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The biggest culprit Monday was the Magic's 19 turnovers, compared with Detroit's 10.
``When you turn the ball over you aren't giving yourself a chance, and we just have to do the little things like that, as well as not letting them get the offensive rebounds,'' Orlando guard Jameer Nelson said. ``There are just some things that we need to take care of. We have great competitors in this locker room that compete really hard, and we just turned the ball over.''
Orlando has now lost nine straight playoff games to Detroit, dating back to last year's 4-0 first-round sweep by the Pistons and a 2003 series in which Detroit won the last three games to overcame a 3-1 deficit. One more loss would tie them with three other teams for the second-longest postseason losing streak to one team in NBA history.
After making just two of 15 3-pointers in Game 1, the Magic found their touch on Monday. Orlando made 11 of 26 - including seven straight in the third quarter. But the Magic shot only 1-of- 9 from long range in the decisive fourth quarter.
``That's what they do - that's the scary part of playing this team,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. ``They go through runs of making 3's where you're saying that it's never going to go in. And I'm sure in the fourth quarter (Van Gundy) was saying, 'Are we ever going to make another one?'''
Magic All-Star Dwight Howard ditched a brace protecting his left thumb Monday, saying he couldn't grip the ball with it. The injury helped limit him in Game 1, but Howard returned to form without it Monday to collect 22 points and 18 rebounds.
``There were a lot of passes and rebounds that slipped right out of my hand,'' Howard said. ``It was fine in practice the other day, but before the game the ball was slippery, and I just had to get rid of it.''
The Magic should be due for some good fortune. Besides Howard's injury in the first game, the team caught a bad break on an important 3-pointer by Chauncey Billups at the end of the third quarter. Billups made the 3, but TV replays showed the clock should've run out. It froze, and officials were left to guess how much time the Pistons ran off before the shot. They guessed wrongly, but NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the refs weren't allowed to consult a replay.
Later Monday, Orlando's flight home was diverted to Cincinnati after a mechanical problem. The players had to spend the night there before returning home Tuesday afternoon, when they were given the day off to rest.
The Pistons practiced Tuesday in Detroit, pleased with their 2-0 series lead but convinced they could do better. Detroit gave up a 12-point second quarter lead and even trailed 84-80 in the fourth on Monday before the Magic fell apart. Orlando made only two field goals in the game's last seven minutes after taking that four-point lead.
``I thought we could have played a lot better. I thought that when had them down, we had a big lead, we didn't kind of step on them,'' Pistons guard Richard Hamilton said. ``We went away from what got us there. I think we'll do better next game.''
Here are some top trends for tonight's game:
- DETROIT is 10-5 against the spread versus ORLANDO over the last 3 seasons
- DETROIT is 14-3 straight up against ORLANDO over the last 3 seasons
- 10 of 17 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
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