Denton: Magic vs. Pistons Analysis (1/28/14)
Once again without starting center Nikola Vucevic and badly outrebounded in Sunday’s loss in New Orleans, the Magic chanced the starting lineup on Sunday and inserted Jason Maxiell. The power forward spent the first seven years of his NBA career with the Pistons and made his first return to The Palace at Auburn Hills on Tuesday night. Maxiell played 14 minutes and contributed two points and one rebound.
Down just 10 at the half, Orlando came unglued in an ugly third quarter. The Magic turned the ball over five times and made just six of 18 shots in an ugly 17-point third quarter that saw the deficit balloon to a frustrating 18 points.
Afflalo made four of six shots in the third quarter, but unfortunately he scored more points (10) than the rest of his teammates combined (seven) in the period. ``It’s just an unfortunate circumstance with us being a young team, and it takes some extreme discipline and extreme fortitude to stay defensive-minded when your offense is absent,’’ Afflalo said. ``So, I think those things come through winning. Clearly, we some improving to do mentally from that standpoint.’’
Orlando trailed 53-43 at the half, and it was actually lucky that the game was that close considering how badly it was whipped on the inside early on. Detroit had a 22-12 advantage on points in the paint and a 16-2 edge in second-chance points in the first two quarters.
Detroit had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half and held a 29-18 advantage on the glass. Drummond and Monroe combined for 17 rebounds early on. Smith, who made just two of 13 shots in Orlando when the two teams played a month ago, compounded problems for the Magic by making six of eight tries in the first half for 12 points.
Nelson drilled three 3-pointers in the first half to keep the Magic within striking distance, but Orlando shot just 44 percent in the first 24 minutes. The Magic didn’t help themselves by missing seven free throws in the first half – six of them off the fingertips of Maurice Harkless.
Many of Orlando’s worst fears came true at the start of the game when the Pistons corralled nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter. In fact, eight of Detroit’s first 15 points came off of second-chance points.
``The rebounding was a big part for them in the first half,’’ Afflalo said. ``That’s a big team, man. Drummond, Monroe and Joshand Kyle (Singler) off the bench. Those guys attack the glass really well. I see why they are the No. 1 paint team (in the NBA).’’
Follow John Denton on Twitter here