It was another lackadaisical performance but the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Detroit Pistons by the score of 90-79. For three quarters, the Magic were in cruise control and only led by three points heading into the fourth quarter. Yet Orlando was able to flip the switch, as they say, in the last period and put the Pistons away in a decisive manner. Rashard Lewis led the way for the Magic with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Dwight Howard had a quiet game for his standards, finishing with nine points, 14 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. In fact, it was a combination of Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick coming off the bench to combine for 23 points, including 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range, that gave Orlando just enough oomph offensively to come away with a victory.
Needless to say, the first quarter was a bit of a disaster for the Magic.
Not sure what the deal is but Orlando is not learning their lesson about playing inferior opponents with a lack of energy and effort. Detroit was running circles around their familiar foe, jumping out to an 18-6 lead that was sparked by a 14-0 scoring run. It got so bad that head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to take two timeouts in the span of less than six minutes and berate his players.
Whatever Van Gundy said, it took a while for the message to sink in for the players on the Magic roster. But fortunately for Van Gundy’s blood pressure, Orlando was able to wake up in time and put forth a better effort as the evening progressed.
The player that, without a doubt, jumpstarted the Magic’s engine was Vince Carter.
Late in the third quarter, Carter was able to score on three straight possessions.
On the first possession, Carter was able to make a long two in the corner on a fast break. On the next play, Carter turned back the clock a few years and collected Howard’s missed jumpshot attempt, slamming it home with two hands and exciting not only the home crowd but his teammates. On the final sequence, Carter made a ridiculous fadeaway three-pointer in the corner that gave Orlando a 63-61 lead.
Even though the Pistons fought back in the fourth quarter, the Magic’s intensity level went up a few notches and their superior talent took control of the game.
A lot of credit in the period should be given to Pietrus and Redick because they were extremely active on both ends of the floor.
The play(s) of the game came near the middle of the quarter.
[7:07] Pietrus makes 24-foot three-point jumpshot (Redick assist)
[6:31] Redick makes 25-foot three-point jumpshot (Pietrus assist)
[4:31] Redick makes 25-foot three-point jumpshot (Nelson assist)
[4:05] Nelson makes 26-foot three-point jumpshot
[2:32] Lewis makes driving layup (Nelson assist)
[1:19] Lewis makes 25-foot three-point jumpshot
[0:16] Nelson makes 20-foot jumpshot
Pietrus and Redick were each other’s assist men on back-to-back threes that turned the tide of the game in Orlando’s favor. On Pietrus’ three, Nelson did an excellent job of setting up the play by executing a drive-and-kick to Redick on the perimeter. From there, Redick was able to feed the basketball to Pietrus in rhythm and the Guadeloupe native took care of the rest. Not about to be outdone by his teammate, Pietrus returned the favor as he attacked the basket in transition on the ensuing possession and was able to find Redick spotting up for a wide-open three.
Great teamwork. From there, Redick, Nelson, and Lewis each made three-point shots that sealed the deal for the Magic.