Orlando Magic vs Detroit Pistons NBA Pick – January 16th

With two teams scratching and clawing to get into playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference, you can expect the game between the Orlando Magic (19-24) and Detroit Pistons (18-24) to be an absolute war tonight.

With the Magic only ahead of the Pistons by 0.5 games, whoever gets the win will get a very valuable one as we march towards April. Currently, Orlando owns the ninth spot in the standings, while Detroit is right behind them in the 10th position.

For the Pistons, it’s just been horrendous basketball as of late. In their past 22 games, Detroit has compiled a record of 5-17. On their recent West Coast trip, the Pistons went 1-2 with their only win coming against the Los Angeles Clippers — Blake Griffin’s former team. That short momentum was then destroyed in a 100-96 loss at the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

Good news for Detroit, however: After more than a month of being injured due to an adductor tear, sixth man Ish Smith gives the team some depth. In his return against the Jazz, Smith had eight points and two assists — this coming in 19 minutes. Another crazy factor involving Smith: He guaranteed the Pistons would make the playoffs after the game.

Going on a quick one-game road trip, the Orlando Magic were brilliant over the weekend at home. First, they defeated one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics, 105-103 — that would snap a four-game losing streak. They then turned around and dropped one of the best teams in the Western Conference with the Houston Rockets, 116-109.

The momentum is clearly on Orlando’s side, and if the Pistons aren’t careful, the Magic could roll into Detroit and steal a win at Little Caesars Arena. Orlando is currently riding a two-game win streak, and a victory over the Pistons would tie their longest winning streak this season. Take a note of that though: The Magic have problems with consistency.

A key piece for Orlando, backup center Mo Bamba, has missed the Magic’s past three games due to a sore left foot. Although he was a full participant in practice on Monday, head coach Steve Clifford said that Bamba will most likely return Friday against the Brooklyn Nets rather than tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

In two meetings this season, Orlando and Detroit are tied 1-1 in their series.

INJURY REPORT

ORLANDO MAGIC

  • MO BAMBA: Foot (Out — Day-to-Day — Expected To Return Friday Against Brooklyn Nets)

DETROIT PISTONS

  • NONE


PLAYERS TO WATCH

ORLANDO MAGIC

NIKOLA VUCEVIC
The 7-foot big-man from Switzerland has been an absolute force this season, and will be a major problem for the Detroit Pistons tonight. Entering with a hot 25.82 PER, Vucevic has been dominating this year with a double-double average. In scoring, he’s hit the 20 mark at 20.1 PPG — and this on elite 52.6 FG% shooting. His other double-figure comes on the glass, pulling down 11.9 RPG for the season. He’s also been lethal on the defensive end, blocking 1.1 shots-per-game. Expect the double-team from Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
AARON GORDON
Mr. Dunk Contest himself — Aaron Gordon has been solid this season for the Orlando Magic coming in tonight’s game with a 15.48 PER. In offensive production, Gordon has put up some nice points on the scoreboard — he averages 15.7 PPG, though the shooting is just average at 44.6 FG%. Gordon has also helped out Vucevic on the boards as well, he’s been bringing down 7.6 RPG for the year. Gordon will be very valuable for the Magic tonight, they’ll be able to use him as a counter to the Griffin-Drummond double-teams on Vucevic.

DETROIT PISTONS

BLAKE GRIFFIN
Despite leaving Los Angeles and entering the cold weather of Detroit, Blake Griffin has still been lighting up opposition this season. In scoring, he’s been an absolute monster — he averages 25.4 PPG coming just under the Top 10 at 11th in the league. The shooting has been great as well at 47.7 FG%. Another area of major effectiveness comes on the boards: He’s only 1.8 away from the 10 mark at 8.2 RPG — he hits 10 and he obviously will average a double-double. For the season, Griffin comes over 20 with a 21.17 PER.
ANDRE DRUMMOND
Averaging a double-double this season, Andre Drummond has been a horse in the paint — specifically on the rebounding end, though his scoring hasn’t been bad either. This year, he’s putting 16.8 PPG through the net, and nearly hitting 50% of them with a 49.9 FG% tally. Let’s get to this monster statistic though: On the boards, he’s pulling down an incredible 15.0 RPG — that places 1st in the NBA, a whole 1.0 rebound over Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan. He’s also effective on defense: 1.7 BLKPG. His PER is 20.34.

CHECK THE NUMBERS

ORLANDO MAGIC

The numbers are very similar in this matchup, not surprising considering the circumstances — and each team comes in with two slight advantages. On the offensive end, the Orlando Magic have a tally of 103.3 PPG which places them with a -3 disadvantage. The shooting is the only edge they have, being +1 at 44.3 FG%. Another slim positive for Orlando, they’re +2 in ball protection at 107.2 PA. A -2 disadvantage also comes in the rebounding department — Orlando sits at 43.3 RPG for the season.

DETROIT PISTONS

Though the numbers aren’t much of an edge for the Pistons nor Magic, the starpower of Blake Griffin and the homecourt advantage might be able to notch the advantage up a bit more for Detroit. In offensive production, the Pistons are sitting at +3 averaging 106.6 PPG — the only negative comes in field goal percentage: -1 at 43.4 FG%. On the defensive end, Detroit has another disadvantage — this time -2 at 109.5 PA. They grab another edge on the glass, a key factor for tonight, grabbing 45.7 RPG — that’s +2 over Orlando.

POWELL’S PREDICTION

This is a huge game tonight with the playoffs being at stake, and as a result, you can expect the intensity to be sky high between the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. Both teams have two advantages in the main statistical categories, so you have to give the edge to Detroit in this one — this due to home court advantage, and the lethal ability of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

The main reason why I see it being hard for the Magic to steal a victory from Detroit tonight is how big the Pistons are in the paint. The double-teams on Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic will be a tough thing to strategize around with Griffin and Drummond to deal with — the battle around the board may kill Orlando tonight, especially with backup center Mo Bamba being out of the picture.

With the No. 9 position in the Eastern Conference up for grabs (the No. 8 seed gets into the playoffs), and the teams being pretty balanced, you can expect an absolute dog-fight in Mo-Town tonight — but with everything I just mentioned, take the Pistons in a close one. Especially with the battle in the paint — Detroit advantage.

PREDICTION: Detroit Pistons 107, Orlando Magic 106

My Pick
ORLANDO MAGIC +4
Andrew Powell / Author

Andrew Powell has been working with The Sports Geek since November 2018 providing analysis and predictions in both the realms of sports and politics. Studying journalism through the University of Michigan, Powell's experience in sports includes tenures at mainstream newspapers The Williamsport Sun-Gazette and The Lock Haven Express, and he would also be affiliated with FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM in Hopewell, Virginia. In politics, it would include a stint with Mad World News and multiple with the Republican Party. From the Super Bowl to The Kentucky Derby to President Donald Trump's hair, Powell has you covered at The Sports Geek.