Magic hoping to top Pistons for 3rd straight win
On Friday, coach Steve Clifford said he felt from the outset something was amiss with the energy for the Orlando Magic in a 25-point home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Orlando’s response to an awful showing was two straight wins on a back-to-back over the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers in dramatic fashion.
On Wednesday, the Magic hope to get their third straight win when they host the Detroit Pistons, who are on a five-game losing streak.
The Magic were 2-6 after getting blown out Friday but delivered a 117-110 win over the Spurs on Sunday in a game where they led by as many as 26 points and shot 50.5 percent. They followed it up by rallying from five points down to get a dramatic 102-100 win over Cleveland on Monday.
After Evan Fournier hit the game-winning jumper at the buzzer, Orlando gets a chance at its first three-game winning streak since Feb. 5-8.
“We were conscious that when you’ve won a game like that in San Antonio and losing a game like this (on Monday), it wouldn’t have really meant anything,” Magic guard Terrence Ross said to reporters. “(Losing Monday) would have taken away all of that confidence that we had just gotten. We were just focused on trying to play the right way and we were able to get a win.”
Fournier scored 15 points Monday and is shooting 39.6 percent. He also is shooting 45.2 percent (19-of-42) in his last three games and like the team is hoping to get going.
“It’s huge to build momentum so that we can really believe in ourselves and believe we can beat anyone, because we can,” Fournier said. “But the more we do it, the more we gain confidence. Now, we have two tough games coming up against two tough teams, so it’s going to be another good test for us.'”
Orlando is shooting 47.7 percent (85-for-178) in its last two games to raise its overall shooting percentage from 41.4 to 42.6 percent. It is the second-lowest in the league but the Magic are feeling significantly better than five days ago, especially with Aaron Gordon totaling 49 points in his last two games after scoring four on Friday.
“To win both nights of a back-to-back, regardless of how you played, it’s a good thing,” Clifford said, ‘”It’s good for confidence and hopefully that will parlay into a more consistent effort on Wednesday.”
The Pistons are hoping their effort results in their first win since beating Cleveland on Oct. 25 as part of a season-opening four-game winning streak. Detroit has its last four games by a combined 19 points while also falling in overtime twice.
The Pistons were unable to halt their skid Monday when they absorbed a 120-115 overtime loss to the Miami Heat on their home floor. Andre Drummond totaled 25 points and 24 rebounds for his fourth game of 20 points, 20 rebounds this season and also sent the game into overtime by hitting the tying basket.
Detroit is shooting 42.7 percent overall which like Orlando is amongst the lowest marks in the league. The Pistons also are shooting 30.6 percent from 3-point range this season.
During the five-game skid, Detroit is shooting 40.5 percent, 25.3 percent on 3-pointers while averaging 105.4 points.
“It’s on us,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “Everybody has us picked eighth or seventh (in the East). It’s on us to continue to improve to put ourselves in position to be in that playoff hunt, which we’re going to be and get better.
“I see improvement. I know it’s not showing in the record, but I do see improvement. I can see the little things we are getting better at but there are some other things we got to continue to harp on.”
The Pistons will keep Glenn Robinson III in the starting lineup for a second straight game in place of Stanley Johnson, who is shooting 33.9 percent. Robinson scored 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting in 30 minutes.
Orlando has won six of the last eight meetings with Detroit. In the last meeting, the Magic outscored the Pistons 11-2 in overtime to get a 115-106 home win on March 2.