The Detroit Pistons were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 103-96 in a game that featured a somewhat-vintage performance from a former superstar that resided in the City Beautiful for four seasons. The Pistons were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Tracy McGrady played surprisingly well, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals — it’s been a while since Magic fans have seen a good performance from him. Tayshaun Price had 20 points and six assists. Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon each had 16 points, while Austin Daye was a bright spot off the bench for the Pistons, finishing with 20 points (5-of-9 shooting from the field), seven rebounds, and two blocks. It was a very efficient outing for Daye and he was one of the main reasons that Detroit was able to steal a win against Orlando on the road. Dwight Howard led the way for the Magic with 20 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks. Ryan Anderson has been playing like a man possessed lately, putting up 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the perimeter along with five rebounds and three blocks. Jameer Nelson had 14 points, while Brandon Bass chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds. Unfortunately for Orlando, perimeter defense and turnovers were a big reason for the loss. Wasted possessions doomed the Magic’s comeback attempt.
If this was 10 years ago, watching McGrady score 20 points would be something that a lot of teams would accept and move on. It’s at that time where McGrady was able to develop into one of the elite scorers in the NBA, so him scoring was going to be inevitable. The question was always — how many points? The problem, of course, is that this is the year 2011 and McGrady shouldn’t be scoring 20 points against Orlando, even if he’s able to turn back the clock once in a while and put up a performance that reminds people of the star player that he once was.
That’s what happened in the first quarter.
McGrady, surprisingly enough, looked spry and didn’t hesitate to attack the basket on multiple occasions. It’s a surprise because, as McGrady’s explosiveness and athleticism has deteriorated over the years, he’s become more reluctant to dribble penetrate into the lane. Instead, McGrady will settle for jumpers. But against the Magic, McGrady was able to find his way to the bucket a few times while nailing a few jumpshots on the perimeter for good measure. McGrady looks comfortable in his role as the point guard for the Pistons, running the offense.
Stuckey, normally playing the point, has been moved off-the-ball recently.
Another reason that Detroit won the game was due to the efforts of Prince, who was playing out of his mind offensively — making a number of difficult shots throughout the evening — while locking down Hedo Turkoglu on the other end of the floor. Turkoglu wasn’t able to generate much on offense, particularly in pick and rolls.
Because Turkoglu was struggling, as was Richardson, especially on the defensive side of the ball, head coach Stan Van Gundy tried to find a lineup combination in the fourth quarter that could spark a comeback for the Magic. Quentin Richardson was dusted off, primarily because of Van Gundy’s desire to have a perimeter player that would show commitment on defense.
For most of the second half, Orlando trailed by 10 points or more and kept trying to go on a run but to no avail. Every time the Magic were able to cut the Pistons’ lead to five points, that was the closest they could get before players like Ben Gordon would respond with a few shots of their own. It was just one of those nights where Detroit had an answer for everything that came their way.
Is it a bad loss for Orlando? Technically speaking, yes.
These are the type of games that the Magic need to win with regularity, but the Pistons deserve a ton of credit for playing well. When McGrady is turning back the clock with somewhat of a throwback performance, when Prince is making some insane jumpers, it happens. Detroit’s wing players scored and took care of the basketball.
Orlando’s wing players didn’t.
When stripping away the layers of the Magic’s loss, that’s about as simple of an explanation as it’s going to get.