Detroit Versus Orlando PreviewEastern Conference Second Round
#2 Detroit (59-23) vs. #3 Orlando (52-30)
Season series: 2-2
Orlando can win if…Dwight Howard is dominant, Hedo Turkoglu owns the fourth quarter, Rashard Lewis not only shoots proficiently but also contributes in other phases of the game and Jameer Nelson holds his own against Chauncey Billups (in other words, if the Magic essentially play perfectly for four games).
Detroit will win because… the Pistons' playoff savvy and versatile starting five will be a little bit too much for the Magic to handle.
Other things to consider: This series could be a lot like the Detroit-Cleveland series in 2006; the Cavs had an excellent chance to prevail but they were playoff neophytes so the Pistons squeaked by even though their concentration and efficiency waxed and waned, sometimes even within games. Howard is already a matchup nightmare and once his offensive game becomes more polished he and the Magic will be very, very difficult to stop. One would think that Detroit would be fully engaged now after the lackluster way that they played early in their first round series versus Philadelphia but it is the nature of the Pistons to be complacent, to get fat and happy, and to lose playoff games to inferior teams. With Howard's power inside and an array of three point shooters on the wings, the Magic are a much more dangerous opponent than the Sixers were, so they should be able to compete with the Pistons even when Detroit is focused. I'm sticking with my original prediction (in my 2007-08 Playoff Preview) that Detroit will beat Orlando in six games.
posted by David Friedman @ 5:52 AM