From the start, it seemed like the Pistons were rekindling their love of beating the Magic. They poured in 20 points (thanks to eight assists) in the first six-plus minutes and looked like the DETermined team they set out to be this season.
Unfortunately, the Pistons were outscored in the waning moments of every quarter, which resulted in the Magic touting a 82-59 advantage on the scoreboard in the final 42 minutes. In the 1st quarter, the Magic closed out the last six minutes on a 10-3 run, cutting a one-time 12-point Pistons' lead to just five. The Pistons increased that lead to seven in the 2nd quarter, but the Magic hit a couple free throws and a three-pointer in the last minute of the half to cut the lead to two.
In the 3rd quarter, the Pistons again built a seven-point lead, but the Magic fought back and ultimately scored the final six points of the quarter, completely dissipating Detroit's lead and taking a three-point lead of their own into the 4th quarter. Detroit started the 4th on a 11-3 run, retaking a five-point lead, but allowed the Magic to shoot eight seemingly wide open threes (and the Magic made five of them) in the remaining eight minutes en route to a 23-7 run to finish the game and a 90-79 Magic victory. (For those counting at home, that's 44-10 in favor of the Magic in the final minutes of the four quarters combined).
The Pistons managed to hold Dwight Howard (nine points on 4-8 shooting, 14 rebounds and six turnovers) and Marcin Gortat (0 points and two rebounds in eight minutes) in check, thanks in large part to strong interior defense from Ben Wallace and Greg Monroe, but the added focus on stopping the Magic forces down low left three-point shooters Mickeal Pietrus, JJ Redick(minus) and Rashard Lewis open outside. The Magic converted 10 of 24 three-pointers and that, along with an inability to close out quarters, was clearly the difference maker in this Pistons defeat.
More after the jump, okay?
- Congratulations to Ben Wallace on grabbing career rebound No. 10,000. With his 9 rebounds tonight, he now has 10,003 rebounds overall, still 34th all-time. He is just 89 rebounds from Red Kerr at 33rd, 363 rebounds from Otis Thorpe at 32nd and 397 total rebounds from Bill Laimbeer at 31st overall, which he should accomplish this season barring injury or less playing time.
- Rodney Stuckey had 7 points in the first six-plus minutes of the game, but scored just five points in the entire second half. Getting blocked by Lewis with 10 seconds left in the game was a fitting cherry-on-top for his 2nd half efforts. He finished with 14 points (on 4-11 shooting), 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers.
- Team MVP Charlie Villanueva was 5-11 shooting, good for 12 points, and had 5 rebounds in 24 minutes. He also had 2 blocks, a steal and 2 turnovers. He's playing noticeably better on defense, too, but you knew that.
- Ben Gordon never really had his shot going for him, yet he still finished one make away from 50% and also supplemented his 10 points with 4 assists in 21 minutes. Gordon was on the wrong end of a terrible charging call in the 4th quarter and was subsequently placed on the bench for the final 2:45 with the Pistons down 6. I realize his shot was off, but I'd still feel a whole lot more comfortable having him in with the Pistons potentially needing three-balls.
- Orlando announcers, David Steele and Matt Guokas, thought Richard Hamilton (5-12 shooting, 12 points, 4 assists) was upset about being put back into the game so late (with 2:45 left, for Gordon) with the Pistons down 6. Rip immediately clanked a three-ball (0-5). Cool, bro.
- Greg Monroe is making hustle plays and has his fingerprints all over the defensive side of the ball, but, man, he seems so awkward (or maybe that's my NBA League Pass glitch'ing).
- Will Bynum was a non-factor.
- Austin Daye did not play, but that's because Jason Maxiell grabbed a really important rebound in 22 minutes.
- Coming into this game, the Pistons were 5-1 this season when leading after the first 12 minutes.
- The Pistons have now lost four straight to the Magic after owning them for soooo long.
- Don't understand my title? Well, here's the reference (can't wait). I wanted to make it "Magic ... MF'er," but I had a feeling it wouldn't go over well with the overlords. Completely random, confusing and not very SEO friendly is way better.
- Box score
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Name # of Posts The Boourns 64 Biz Markie Moon 36 Mike Payne 28 Trout Jefferson 25 bugman222 24 tads 23 garrettelliott 22 heWizard 20 need4detroit 19 Ra's Head 18 Danny D 18 Shinons 12 Gabe F-B 10 Fadel 8 Joshua Michael DeFour 8 Kriz 7 Taiwanese Tora 7 Packey 6 13194013 6 DetroitSports 5 OK from J 4 FunkyDonut 4 freywagg 4 MaxiellEatsLittleOnes 3 Toledo Joe 3 CodyB 3 3636 3 Quick Darshan 1 defense_first 1 curlyfries 1 Boney 1 TripOG 1 BillyRude 1 Wheaties 1 TDP 1 Big Z in Orlando 1