Photo by J. Dennis/Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images
After a back-and-forth first half, the Detroit Pistons busted the game open in the third quarter and cruised to a 105-90 victory over the Orlando Magic. The Magic have now lost 14 of their last 16 games and, after a surprising 12-13 start, finish the first half of the regular season with a 14-27 record.
Against the Pistons, Orlando jumped out to a 22-11 lead in the first quarter thanks in large part due to J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson. Redick and Nelson got off to hot starts offensively — both players accounted for 18 of the Magic’s first 22 points in the period. Redick and Nelson did their damage exclusively at the rim and behind the three-point line.
Unfortunately for Orlando, Detroit responded by finishing the quarter on a 15-3 run to take a one-point lead heading into the second quarter. You can excuse the Magic for feeling a sense of dejavu when they coughed up a double-digit lead in the first quarter, given that the same thing happened in their loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
After blowing an 11-point lead, there were several lead changes in the second quarter between Orlando and the Pistons, as neither team was able to build more than a five-point cushion in the period. A late scoring surge by Detroit allowed them to take a 54-52 halftime lead.
Everything changed in the third quarter. After struggling to slow down the Magic offensively in the first half, the Pistons’ defense dug in and held Orlando to just 14 points in the period.
Meanwhile, Detroit’s offense carried over their success from the first half. Greg Monroe scored 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter, scoring primarily in the paint with little resistance as the Magic were unable to defend anything inside. When Monroe wasn’t bringing the lightning, Andre Drummond was bringing the thunder as he overwhelmed Orlando’s frontline with his freakish athleticism.
When the third quarter was all said and done, the Pistons had built a 16-point lead and would go on cruise to a double-digit victory.
If there’s anything else worth noting, it would be Arron Afflalo’s peculiar performance offensively against Detroit. Normally not gun shy, his first shot didn’t come until late in the third quarter when the game was essentially decided. He deferred quite a bit and finished the game without scoring a single point (0-for-4 shooting from the floor).
In a game where Redick was excellent and Davis was awful, Afflalo’s scoreless night stuck out like a sore thumb.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Despite being on the wrong side of a blowout loss, Redick had an outstanding game (26 points on 9-for-10 shooting). He was judicious with his shot selection and it translated into an efficient outing.
LVP (Least Valuable Player)
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. With each missed shot, Glen Davis looked more and more like an insane player on offense. He shot 4-for-16 from the floor.
The Pistons outscored the Magic 28-14 in the third quarter to blow the game wide open and cruise to a double-digit victory. After a porous first half, Detroit’s defense clamped down and Orlando was unable to recover.