Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons Pick & Prediction MARCH 3rd 2024

The Orlando Magic get a soft spot in their schedule this week, a welcome sight for a playoff contender.

Orlando will play the Eastern Conference’s three worst teams in succession, starting with Sunday’s meeting with the visiting Detroit Pistons.

After playing Detroit, the Magic will hit the road to face the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday before taking on the Washington Wizards on Wednesday as part of a three-game trip.

On Sunday, Orlando can complete a four-game season-series sweep of the Pistons.

The Magic rolled to a 123-91 home win on Dec. 8, then collected two victories at Detroit last month. Franz Wagner erupted for 38 points in a 111-99 triumph on Feb. 4.

The most recent matchup on Feb. 24 wasn’t decided until the final second, as the Magic pulled out a 112-109 victory thanks to Paolo Banchero’s three-point play with 0.8 left on the clock.

Banchero missed Orlando’s next two games with an illness but came back strong against the Utah Jazz on Thursday. He posted 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a 115-107 win, the Magic’s 10th victory in their past 13 games.

“I’m feeling a lot better, a lot better,” Banchero said afterward. “I think on top of feeling sick, the main thing that was really bothering me was just how my body was feeling. … I couldn’t move. I couldn’t jump. It just had me very, very limited.

“I just wanted to get my body right. … I just wanted to come out and help us get the win, do whatever I could, and I got it going in the fourth.”

Jalen Suggs played a big role during crunch time. He hit three 3-pointers in the final three minutes.

“I think we’re learning how to win and adapt to the way the game is flowing, and (Thursday) is another example of that,” Suggs said. “We weren’t knocking down shots, but we were playing great defense and we were getting to the rim.”

The Pistons have lost seven of their past eight games. They followed up a controversial two-point loss to the New York Knicks on Monday with a 105-95 win against the host Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. They didn’t build any momentum from those efforts, though, losing at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, 110-100.

The Pistons were down 63-37 with four minutes remaining in the first half. They couldn’t get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.

“We just dug ourselves a hole,” Detroit coach Monty Williams said. “We were down 26. It felt like 56 because we just weren’t playing the kind of basketball that we had been playing in all of the games leading to this particular game.”

Detroit’s roster has been in a constant state of upheaval over the past month, and the turnover continued this week when Mike Muscala and Shake Milton reached contract buyout agreements with the front office.

Those roster moves have put the rotation in a state of flux. It affected the bench play against the Cavaliers, as the five reserves Williams used combined to shoot 5-for-23 from the field.

“There were a number of lapses with the second unit,” Williams said. “I thought for a new group, I thought the ball got sticky and we couldn’t score. … Our turnovers weren’t that bad. I thought the offensive flow wasn’t there. We were flat in both quarters (of the first half), but in particular, the last part of the first and the beginning of the second.”

–Field Level Media

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