For the third time in just six games, the Pistons utterly collapsed in one quarter, which served as the major difference maker in yet another loss. Detroit gave up a half's worth, 40 points in the first quarter to Orlando, allowing the Magic to basically coast the rest of the game en route to a 110-103 victory.
Detroit fell behind by 17 points after the first quarter when the Magic came out guns a blazing, making 74% of their shots (71% from downtown), virtually all of them coming from uncontested shots. Ryan Anderson, Dwight Howard, and J.J. Redick led the way in the first quarter. Ryan Anderson, who shot just 1-11 from three point land on Tuesday, was 2-3 from behind the arc in the first quarter and had 11 points before leaving the game with a sprained ankle later. Howard scored 10 of his 22 in the first and Redick was on his way to a mighty fine game, but he got into foul trouble. He still finished with 16 points.
Orlando was able to go through the motions the rest of the game once they led by as many as 19 in the first quarter, as their lead never shrunk below six the rest of the way. Not even Charlie Villanueva's best "Dirk Nowitzski impression" could help the Pistons get over the deficit. Charlie went off, scoring 22 of his 28 points (9-10 shooting) in the 4th quarter. He had just two points at halftime and Orlando's announcers were making "Invisible Man" jokes. Detroit outscored the Magic 80-70 in the final three quarters, but the first quarter dead horse was just too much to overcome.
All five of Orlando's starters were in double figures, with Dwight Howard ahead of the pack with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He fouled out again, but this time with just 12 seconds remaining in the game after having zero fouls in the first half. .
With the Pistons loss, Detroit falls to 2-4 and Orlando improves to 5-1.
Some more notes/thoughts after the jump.
- The Magic made just three 3-pointers after the first quarter, in which they made five. They finished with a 29% 3-point FG% after shooting 71% from beyond the arc in the first.
- Ben Gordon had his first off-night as a Piston, but he made the best of it. He was 1-10 in the first half, but went 4-7 in the second half and finished with 19 points. He was 9-11 from the charity stripe.
- Jonas Jerebko continues to grow while getting starts. He was all over the place tonight and finished with nine points and six rebounds.
- Austin Daye had his first big night as an NBA player. He had 11 points with five rebounds in 18 minutes. He was 5-7 shooting and all his points came in the first half. If only there were more minutes to go around.
- Rodney Stuckey shot 9-18 and finished with 20 points, but he had 15 of those in the first half.
- Ben Wallace was a non-factor for the first time this season. He got beat down low endlessly and finished with just one rebound.
- Kwame was not good tonight. I don't think I've ever seen a guy draw a shooting foul and wind up minus-one on the play. He was called for a technical after drawing the foul, Redick made the free throw for the Magic, and then Kwame proceeded to miss both of his freebies. In addition to that embarrassing sequence, he was shamed by Marcin Gortat in the first half when he squared up on Gortat down low, tried three unsuccessful fakes, and finally drove only to be blocked like he was a grade schooler. He played 11 minutes, grabbed four easy rebounds, and missed all four of his free throws.
- The Magic front court outscored the Pistons 32-8 in the first half.
- The Pistons finished with a 51% shooting percentage compared to the Magic's 47%. It's a damn shame the Pistons don't play a full 48 minutes because they could easily be 4-2, 5-1, or maybe even 6-0 this season if they did.
- The Pistons will return home for a Sunday day game against the 76ers. Tip off set for 1 PM EST.