NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Orlando 27 19 25 27 98
Detroit 30 30 34 21 115
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 PM CT22:00 , March 28, 2019
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan  Attendance: 18,128

Magic looking to overtake Pistons in playoff race

According to STATS
According to STATS

Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons

  1. The Magic's current six-game win streak -- their longest since winning nine straight in the 2010-11 season -- has moved them atop the Southeast Division and into the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. Orlando hasn't won a division title since 2009-10 and hasn't made the playoffs since 2011-12.
  2. Detroit is only a half-game ahead of the Magic after losing the final three games of a five-game road trip. The Pistons, however, return to Michigan looking to extend a nine-game home winning streak, which is their longest since a run of 16 consecutive home victories in the 2005-06 season.
  3. Orlando has lost six of its last seven games in Detroit but went to overtime in the last visit, falling 120-115 on January 16. The last seven meetings overall between these teams have been decided by an average of 6.3 points.
  4. Nikola Vucevic is scoring 22.6 points per game in March, on track to be the highest average in any month of his career -- his best in a full month is 22.2 in February 2015. Vucevic has averaged 23.8 points and 13.6 rebounds in Orlando's last five games.
  5. While Vucevic is tied for third in the NBA with 55 double-doubles this season, Andre Drummond is the league leader with 62. Drummond posted a seventh straight double-double in Wednesday's loss at Denver but also fouled out. The Pistons are 4-17 all-time when he fouls out.
  6. Blake Griffin hoisted 32 field-goal attempts Wednesday, three shy of a career high he set on October 23 against Philadelphia. He's the first Piston to have multiple games with 30+ FGAs in a season since Jerry Stackhouse in 2000-01. The last Piston to do it all was Richard Hamilton on December 27, 2006.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons have been heading in opposite directions the last two weeks. If that trend continues on Thursday, the Magic will pass the Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Magic (37-38) have won six straight to take the lead in the Southeast Division as well as move into the conference's eighth and final playoff position. The Pistons have lost four of their last five, all on the road, dropping to the .500 mark at 37-37.

The two teams face each other in Detroit on Thursday night.

Orlando followed up a 5-0 homestand with a big win at Miami on Tuesday, allowing the Magic to pass the Heat in the division. Center Nikola Vucevic led them to the 104-99 victory with 24 points and 16 rebounds.

The Magic are in position for their first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season.

"We've fought for this all year and now we control our own destiny," Vucevic told the team's website. "Now, it's on us to do what is necessary to stay there and keep us in that top eight and maybe even go for more. The teams in front of us aren't that far away, so maybe we can even do more (by moving up in the standings)."

The Magic's winning streak is their longest since the 2010-11 season, when they won nine straight in December and January.

Orlando was down by nine at halftime in Miami but turned the game around by outscoring the Heat 34-19 in the third quarter.

"We just stuck with it because we knew it was going to be a long game," Vucevic said. "We knew they were going to come out very aggressive. For us, it was a second night of a back-to-back and sometimes you start off a little sluggish and it takes a little time. That's also risky in these games because (the opponent) can build a big lead, which they did, but we cut it in half. Then, we were able to regroup in the second half and win the game."

The Pistons also had a big second half on Tuesday but it wasn't enough to overcome a very slow start. They trailed by 27 at halftime in Denver, then staged a furious rally. Blake Griffin missed a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds that could have sent the game to overtime.

The 95-92 loss had the Pistons lamenting their first-half woes.

"You can't be happy about that," coach Dwane Casey said of the comeback. "The way we played the first half, again, we talk about being a playoff team and it makes me even more mad and upset. Again, we have to have about seven or eight soldiers going in to win this game, whenever our next game is, and be ready to play. I thought we executed well down in the second half, but

we were way too late."

Detroit has been tough to beat at Little Caesars Arena, winning its last nine games at home.

"I want to say in those nine games, one thing is our fans have been great," said Griffin, who scored 29 points against the Nuggets. "They've been a difference-maker in a lot of those games for us. Overall, it's been our attitude, the way we play basketball. Like I keep talking about all season, we put a product on the (court) that we can be proud of, that Detroit can be proud of -- that's what we've got to do."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 28, 2019

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