After back-to-back losses on the road, the Orlando Magic returned home to host the Detroit Pistons for the second and final time this season. It was the Eastern Conference foes’ final meeting of the season, with the home team winning the first two. Wednesday night would be no different, as the Magic controlled the game en route to a 112-98 win.
The first quarter of action was a very balanced one, with the two trading points for much of the first 12 minutes. While Orlando earned all their points from the field, Detroit paraded to the line, attempting 10 free throws in the quarter. Orlando, who knocked down 12-of-26 from the field, showed good ball movement, assisting on 11 of their 12 buckets. When the buzzer sounded, the two were tied at 26.
After an evenly matched first, the Magic began to set themselves apart from the visiting Pistons. The Magic were able to knock down shots, while Detroit struggled to find a consistent groove offensively. Orlando continued its dominance inside, scoring 18 of their 31 points in the paint. At the half, Orlando saw their names atop the scoreboard, 57-43.
Out of the halftime break, the Magic continued to pound the ball inside. While the Pistons were able to narrow the gap in points in the paint to four, the Magic were able to score 12 more to push their game total to 44. However, their ability to score inside was matched possession after possession, as the two traded buckets for much of the period. At the end, the Magic saw their lead hold steady at 14, 88-74, heading into the final quarter of action.
Carrying a 14-point lead into the final quarter proved to be enough. While the Pistons were able to cut into the lead, knocking it down to 10 at one point, the Magic were able to push it back out with relative ease. Thanks in large part to backup big man Kyle O’Quinn, the Magic were able to keep the Pistons at a distance that was just too much to make up, allowing them to take home the 14-point victory.
Having to matchup with the bigger and more physical Pistons, Orlando was forced to go big, which proved instrumental in their win. Victor Oladipo led the team with an efficient 20 points, shooting a cool 8-of-10 from the field. Big man Glen Davis joined in on the efficiency party, scoring 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Lanky forward Maurice Harkless and guard Arron Afflalo each poured in 15 points, with Harkless adding a team-high nine rebounds. The man in the middle, Nikola Vucevic, added a quiet 14 points and six rebounds as well for the victorious Magic.
For the Pistons, it was a struggle to find consistent offense for stretches of the game. To go along with 12 rebounds, forward Josh Smith scored a game-high 25 points. Fellow starters Andre Drummond and Brandon Jennings scored 15 a piece, with Drummond adding a game-high 14 rebounds, including eight offensively. Rodney Stuckey added 14 off the bench. Rounding out the Pistons in double figures were Greg Monroe and Kyle Singler, who scored 12 and 11, respectively.
Magic Game Notes
O’Quinn Bring Energy
From blocking a career-high six shots, to leading fast breaks, second-year big man Kyle O’Quinn did it all on Wednesday night. The Norfolk State product gave the Magic some of his best minutes of the season, finishing with eight points and five rebounds along with the aforementioned six blocks. His teammates were very complimentary of him and his growth after the game, saying they were happy to see his continued growth and his leadership really shine. O’Quinn was arguably the biggest difference in the game with his high level of play sparking the Magic when they needed it the most. It’s something that’s been in the works for O’Quinn, as he’s put together a very solid couple of weeks, and it was nice to see it come to fruition against the Pistons.
In the first two matchups, the Pistons won the rebounding battle with relative ease, including grabbing a combined 36 offensive rebounds. However, Wednesday was a different story, with the Magic winning the battle on the boards 44-36. Head coach Jacque Vaughn said pregame it was key for his team to get a body on everyone to allow for better rebounding. Needless to say, it worked. Detroit was still able to grab 11 offensive rebounds, but the Magic matched them with 12 of their own, while winning the battle on the defensive boards 32-27. Rebounding has been a problem for the team periodically this season, but Wednesday night was a step in the right direction for them.
“The second unit, we pull from each other. You just do whatever. I can’t even explain what that moment was. We just pull for each other and I saw Vic running and so I started running too.”
Victor Oladipo on O’Quinn’s leadership
“Now that he’s playing a lot more, he’s got a lot more confidence and we have confidence in him. We trust him out there and he plays hard, when he’s talking like that, and he’s active. He’s definitely a huge spark for us.”
Stat of the Night
Orlando outscored Detroit 58-52 in the paint and 15-6 on the fast break.