#1 Pistons vs. #8 Magic Series Preview
What to look for: Detroit consistency.
Detroit is arguably the most hard working team in the league and “big boys” teams to get past their very evident team shooting issues. Similar to the acquisition of ‘Sheed during their 2004 championship, the addition of Chris Webber has paid immediate dividends to a team that lacked consistency early in the season. His great sense to create passing lanes helps this team score big buckets after minutes of empty possessions. The roster is packed with battle tested veterans who are ready to make another run at the title that Webber so covets. This is most likely Webber’s last chance to get that June shine.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
Having the best guard tandem in the Association with Billups and Hamilton, the Pistons are going to be a difficult out for whomever they face in what shapes up to be very intriguing playoffs. Who is really going to stop either guard when the game is on the line? The Magic are simply too young to back Detroit into a vulnerable corner. Tayshaun Prince, along with Webber and Antonio McDyess are the X factors that pose constant matchup problems in any situation .
Orlando is going to live and die with future NBA MVP candidate, Dwight Howard. His emergence as the next powerful NBA legendary force is most welcomed on a franchise that once had Shaq ferociously roaming the paint.
Defensive issues and inexperience will prove to be Orlando’s quick demise. Howard is going to be tested on every single defensive possession to stay out of foul trouble because of Detroit’s very deep front line rotation.
Grant Hill’s courageous return from his latest career damaging injury will bolster the Magic’s morale and Jameer Nelson (sup fam!) will get another education from Mr. Big Shot in his quest to become a playoff tested floor leader.
Prediction: Unless Howard comes up with multiple 28-20 games, Pistons in 4. Detroit is just too experienced, focused and hungry to be stopped in the early rounds.