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Friday, May 9, 2008


Juan Dixon scored in double digits the last five times
he put on a Pistons uniform. That was during the
closing weeks of the season, when the Pistons were
resting their starters and giving their reserves some
Move Dixon to the Orlando Magic and he'd be their
first player off the bench. But as a Piston, Dixon has
not even been activated during the playoffs.
Though Chauncey Billups might not play in Game 4 of
this series, Dixon will probably remain inactive while
Lindsey Hunter trades a suit for a jersey.
That's the fundamental difference between the Orlando
Magic and Pistons. You can talk about the disparity between the
starting backcourts between the two teams but the real
gap is between their reserve corps. The Pistons bench
has outscored the Magic's reserves in the first three
games 63-34.
It goes beyond just offense. The Pistons also have
guys who can impact the game defensively (Arron
Afflalo, Theo Ratliff, Walter Herrmann, Hunter). Their
sixth man was their starting power forward/center all
season (Antonio McDyess). Their main backcourt reserve
(Rodney Stuckey) may have been the best point guard in
last season's draft. He scored 19 points after Billups
went down in Game 3.
What do the Magic have? Swingman Keith Bogans is a
3-point gunner who has traditionally killed the
Pistons but he's been shooting blanks in this series.
Stan Van Gundy has switched back and forth at the
backup point between Carlos Arroyo and Keyon Dooling,
hoping one emerges (Dooling's hot fourth quarter in
Game 3 probably buried Arroyo for good).
They really don't have a decent frontcourt reserve at
the moment. Their best backup there, Brian Cook, is
out with a hand injury. That has forced Van Gundy to
switch between Adonal "Tin" Foyle and Euro mystery man
Marcin Gortat.
Even if Billups misses a game or two, the Pistons will
win this series. They have too much backup power to
blow it.


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