Will the Magic ever figure out Tayshaun Prince? Seriously, Prince has been a thorn in the Magic’s side ever since he burst onto the scene in the 2002 Playoffs to shut down, you guessed it, Tracy McGrady and the Magic.
Prince scored 21 points, including 11 in the first quarter, to give the Pistons their only consistent offense of the night.
Sorry if I sound like Stan Van Gundy… I thought I should get the negative out of the way early.
That is because nothing else went wrong in a game where Dwight Howard sat out nursing his back spasms, Chris Duhon was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team (reportedly missing shootaround Monday morning) and Ryan Anderson returned from a sprained ankle after missing a week.
The Magic got whatever they wanted offensively, hitting 15 3-pointers and shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. They worked the ball around to get open jumpers and got to the basket. They worked hard on the offensive glass to keep possessions alive. And they played some stellar defense without the three-time Defensive Player of the Year to anchor them.
This was the Orlando Magic fans have gotten used to seeing the last four years — unrelenting, precise and suffocating.
They took a 30-point lead on multiple occassions and won by that margin in the kind of effort that makes even a coach like Stan Van Gundy overlook any faults the team might have had in this one. The Magic continued to rediscover its mojo banding together once again for a complete 119-89 victory over the Pistons on Monday at Amway Center.
The Magic were a picture of efficiency offensively shooting better than 50 percent and hitting all those 3-pointers. But more importantly, had 28 assists on 42 field goals. Jameer Nelson had nine of those assists and Ish Smith added seven off the bench. Both of Orlando’s point guards were able to get into the offense, attack and move the ball quickly.
Smith brought a change of pace in a season-best 35-point second quarter. His speed was on full display and he continues to push for playing time (at leats from fans).
Nelson was no slouch either, scoring 18 points on his own to help lead all five starters into double figures.
The Magic got a quick double double from Glen Davis starting at center. Davis had his double double early in the second quarter and finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Jason Richardson gained his shooting stroke with 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting. J.J. Redick 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting too. Ryan Anderson returned with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
Orlando had its 3-point game working and that certainly enabled the team to expand the league further and further.
But what was amazing in a game where Howard sat out is that Orlando never let Detroit make a run. The Pistons cut the lead near 20 points a few times, but the lead and the devastation of the Magic’s speed, defensive ability and shooting ability were far too much.
Again, the Magic just got what they wanted, adding 24 free throw attempts and 20 free throw makes in this game. The Magic also added an uncharacterstic 22 fast break points too, simply beating the Pistons down the floor. It was about as solid an effort as Orlando has put up this year all around.
Who the opponent was should certainly be considered. But remembering the Magic had dropped two previous games to the Pistons this year could dispell some of that notion. It takes a lot to beat any team by 30 points and to thoroughly dominate an NBA team that way the Magic did.
Orlando, after a gutsy win in Philadelphia and a dominant wina gainst Detroit, seems to be finding its groove again. And that is a good sign for a team hungry for the Playoffs.