Game Preview: As Pistons Begin Life Without Reggie Jackson, Detroit Faces Banged Up Magic
The Detroit Pistons(19-14) head to the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to face the Orlando Magic(11-24) tonight at 7:00p.m.
The Pistons took down the Indiana Pacers in blowout fashion on Tuesday night, but at a grave cost. Detroit lost starting point guard, Reggie Jackson, in the third quarter when he fell hard on his right ankle coming down from a shot. An MRI revealed a Grade 3 sprain in his right ankle, and therefore Jackson will be out for at least the next six to eight weeks.
Stan Van Gundy said today that Ish Smith will start at point guard and Langston Galloway will manage the backup point guard minutes. Smith has averaged 8.9 points and 3.9 assists in 20.1 minutes per game off the bench this season. When Jackson missed the first 21 games of the 2016-2017 season, Smith started in his place, helping lead Detroit to an 11-10 record. With Jackson likely out at least 3o games, Detroit will need Smith to play high-level basketball.
Van Gundy also said Avery Bradley, who has been out since December 15th, began basketball activities today. Van Gundy is hopeful Bradley will return next week.
The Magic are 3-20 over their last 23 games, with their latest loss coming to the Miami Heat on Tuesday, 107-89. Orlando was outscored by 24 in the second half. Elfrid Payton had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja added 14 points apiece.
The last time the Pistons and Magic played, December 17th, Mario Heznoja scored 28 points in the Magic’s 114-110 loss to Detroit.
As mentioned, Detroit is without Reggie Jackson(right ankle) and Avery Bradley(groin). Jon Leuer(ankle) remains out as well for the Pistons.
The Magic are banged up, too. Nikola Vucevic(hand) and Jonathan Issac(ankle) are out. Aaron Gordon(calf) and Evan Fournier(ankle) are game-time decisions.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG: Ish Smith
SG: Luke Kennard
SF: Reggie Bullock
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Andre Drummond
PG: Elfrid Payton
SG: Evan Fournier
SF: Mario Hezonja
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Vucevic
Featured Image: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports