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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pistons vs. Magic Round 2: Is the switch in reach?

Posted by TADOne

On or off? Is it really as simple as reaching over and flipping a switch to point a 90 degree upward position? Theories abound about the Detroit Pistons lack of complete focus on tasks at hand and proper attention to detail. The most popular one among Conspiracy Theorists is that Detroit does not play to their god-given abilities until they have been backed into a corner and need to fight their way to survival. It has been called “Flipping The Switch”.

While Detroit seemed to be in the dark early against the upstart 76ers in round 1, they supposedly found that inner desire and methodically dispatched of the young Philly team in a pretty resounding fashion. It seems the proverbial switch has been “ON” for the last 10 quarters and darkness has found light. If this is the case, let’s call Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic the power company coming to collect on an overdue bill.

The Orlando Magic strut into the second round matchup after dispatching of a game, but overmatched, Toronto Raptors squad. The Magic controlled the tempo against Toronto and never really let the Raptors get out and run and get a rhythm going. They used their interior size advantage and exterior mismatches and controlled the series 16 out of the quarters that it lasted. But the same things that were an advantage against Toronto, now appear to be even or even disadvantages against the veteran Pistons.

The Magic and Pistons split their regular season games at 2 apiece, with each team earning a road win at the other teams home court. The postseason, though, is a whole new level, as Detroit showed Orlando just last season.

So let’s break down the individual matchups and find out if Dwight can really “Supa Man That Hoe” or if the Pistons can “Flip That Switch”.

Chauncey Billups vs. Jameer Nelson

Chauncey has literally dominated this matchup against the smaller Jameer.

Jameer comes in at a tad under 6 feet tall, and this gives Chauncey the size and strength advantage and allows him to post up the smaller Nelson and pretty much dictate the action. While Jameer can cause Billups problems with his speed and dribble penetration, Chauncey found his groove at the end of the Sixers series and this should continue in this series and give Detroit a serious advantage at this position.

Edge: Billups.

Rip Hamilton vs. Maurice Evans

Both of these players thrive on constant motion, but Rip has made his into an artform.

When Rip is at his best, he is in constant motion, playing off of staggered picks and finding seams to knock down his mid-range J, the best in the game. At his worst, Rip gets frustrated and tries to force the action and force shots, leading to high turnovers. Mo Evans plays at a high energy level on defense, and will look to frustrate Hamilton by running with him and trying to bump his off his spots. On offense, Evans is a one-dimensional spot up 3 point shooter.

Edge: Hamilton.

Tayshaun Prince vs. Hedo Turkoglu

Turkoglu, the newly crowned Most Improved Player, has a vast repertoire of offensive moves that will challenge the defensive specialist Prince.

While Hedo was strangely silent in round 1, he will look to get to the rim or get spot up oppurtunities off Nelson penetration. Look for Prince to try and frustrate Hedo with his length and carry over his superb defense against Andre Igoudala in round 1 and give Turkoglu all he can handle. Prince was also the Pistons most consistent player on offense in round 1, shooting a staggering 66% against the Sixers. With Hedo not being a tough defender, look for Prince to stay hot in this series.

Edge: Even.

Jason Maxiell vs. Rashard Lewis

The Pistons will continue to start Maxiell while Antonio McDyess continues to recover from a broken nose.

Rashard Lewis will look to give the young Maxiell all he can handle in this matchup. Lewis will look to get out in transition and knock down 3’s. The Pistons want Maxiell to try and force Rashard to put the ball on the floor and force him into help defense situations. Rashard is also adapt at running pick and rolls with his point guard.

Edge: Lewis.

Rasheed Wallace vs. Dwight Howard

This will be an interesting matchup of the young All Star and the wily veteran.

Dwight Howard still has a ways to go with his offensive game, still at his best dunking the ball and getting offensive put backs. Wallace will look to take the Orlando big out on the perimeter and negate his excellent rebounding efficiency some. Both players are excellent defenders and can block shots with the best of them, with Howards youth making him a bit better. Howard is still a poor free throw shooter, only hitting 59% during the season.

Edge: Even.

Flip Saunders vs. Stan Van Gundy

The pressure is on Saunders to get the Pistons to the Finals or risk watching the young assistant Michael Curry taking over his spot on the bench. Saunders has been on the hot seat ever since going down 2-1 in the first round series against Philly before rallying his team. Van Gundy has stepped into Orlando and molded the team to play hard defense and control the tempo of games by preaching the value of taking care of the ball. This is the 3rd time Stan has taken a team to the postseason.

Edge: Even.


While Orlando sticks mostly to a 7 man rotation, Detroit’s bench has been a strength all season long. Simply put, the Pistons can go 10 deep in any game, while Orlando will play their starters the bulk of the minutes. Look for Theo Ratliff to get some meaningful minutes in this series as another big to throw at Dwight Howard.

Edge: Pistons.

The Pistons hold home-court advantage in this series, while Orlando was a good road team during the season. Even though Detroit swept Orlando out of the playoffs last season, this is a better coached Magic squad. The Pistons got an early “wake-up” call against the Sixers in the first round, and aren’t likely to let off the gas pedal against the Magic.

Prediction: Pistons in 6.


Eboy said...

It really does suck that out of all the remaining teams, these two are the one's no one besides their fans give's a sh*t about.

TADOne said...

That's fine by me....