The Pistons were not shooting the ball well and were giving up 3-pointers left and right to a strong-shooting Magic team. The Magic were giving up offensive rebounds and getting beat in transition after committing turnovers. Not to mention the usual pick and roll defense problems that have allowed guards free reign into the paint.
The game probably did not tip in favor of the Pistons on the play that ended the first half. But it was certainly a clue which way it would go.
Jameer Nelson was very clearly fouled -- intentionally -- on the final possession of the half and he went up for a shot. The referee kept his whistle in his pocket and Detroit was off to the races. It finished with an Andre Drummond dunk and that Pistons lead. Nelson stayed to argue and explain for a while.
The Magic hung around for a little while, but eventually the 3-pointers stopped falling, the lack of dribble penetration hurt and the offensive rebounds from the Pistons began to hurt as their effort outpaced the Magic in the end. The balance tipped in the Pistons' favor in a big way for a 105-90 Pistons win at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday.
The Magic started off smoking, draining 3-pointers and taking an 11-point lead. J.J. Redick had 13 points and Jameer Nelson had 10 points to propel Orlando forward. But by the end of the quarter the Pistons had erased that deficit and gotten back into the game.
From there it was an entertaining back-and-forth game for much of the first half. Neither team could get away from the other.
The Magic were paced all night by J.J. Redick who scored 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting and 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc (a 115 percent effective field goal percentage, for those that care about such things). Redick was simply incredible all night and was simply in one of those zones.
Nobody else seemed able to join him. Perhaps the first sing that things would eventually go awry was Glen Davis' startling inefficiency. He finished 4 for 16 on the night to score 11 points, but missed several open jumpers and had his share of wild forays to the rim that just would not go down.
Jameer Nelson scored only four points after the first quarter and was an icy 6 for 18 from the floor. He struggled to create for himself although his nine assists were a nice contribution. Perhaps most odd, Arron Afflalo did not take a shot until there were about 2.5 minutes left in the third quarter and missed all four of his field goals. It was only the third time since Afflalo was traded to Denver that he failed to score and took four or less field goals. Although in those games he did not play 38 minutes.
Afflalo tried to do other things, recording five assists and playing solid defense on Tayshaun Prince. But the Magic needed just a bit more from him... and from everyone else.
Orlando let the continued missed shots get to them defensively as Detroit made plenty of rim runs and got easy baskets from pick and rolls and second chance opportunities. Detroit grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and had 54 points in the paint. The Pistons were grabbing offensive rebounds and really set the tone in the second quarter with Jason Maxiell going hard to the glass and getting those easy put backs.
In the second half it was all Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond just eating away at the Magic from the inside. Monroe had 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter as Detroit pulled away.
And the Magic kept chucking away mid-range jumpers. They paid for it, scoring only 38 points in the second half after scoring 52 in the first. The Magic's offense was the one to give out and decide this game. They never could get baskets when they got a string of stops.
The Pistons just kept coming and the Magic had not answer tonight.