Jacque Vaughn opted to rest all his key players and usual starters in the back end of the back-to-back using the game in Detroit as a chance for some of the team's younger players and roster hopefuls to get an extended look. Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis and Nikola Vucevic all received the night off clearing the way for Gustavo Ayon, DeQuan Jones, E'Twaun Moore and Justin Harper a chance to shine.
It may not be quite so clear what Jacque Vaughn saw in those players during a Pistons route, since the Pistons did not match and played all their main players their usual preseason minutes. But Vaughn got his extended look at the players fighting for a roster spot nonetheless.
Detroit used a 35-14 second quarter to take control of the game and defeat Orlando 112-86 on Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills. DeQuan Jones led the way for Orlando with 22 points and Gustavo Ayon had a double double with 19 points and seven rebounds. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons in scoring with 19 points and added five assists to his total.
Jones Solidifies Roster Spot?
Probably not entirely, but it is hard to ignore the work Jones has done this preseason for the Magic. With Arron Afflalo sidelined with a hamstring injury, Jones has had to step in and split time at shooting guard with J.J. Redick. Jacque Vaughn prefers for the moment having Redick in a reserve role and that has cleared up room for Jones.
Jones has clearly earned it from what we have seen on the floor in preseason games. Tonight, he turned in his best offensive performance.
Jones scored 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting adding four makes from the foul line in four attemtps for a 74.5 percent true shooting percentage. Remember, Jones was hardly known as a scorer in his four years at Miami. Jones was more of the athlete/energy type player. His work in college was done mostly on the defensive end and in energy plays. He won the college slam dunk contest too, so the athleticism is clearly there.
What Jones has shown fans though in the games we have seen him is something much more than that. Even against the Hornets, Jones was able to hit jumpers and work offensively much better than we initially thought. The defense, from all we can gather, is there too and the Magic really like his energy and what he has brought in practice.
Clearly some of it has spilled over into these games.
Jones is not going to sew up the last roster spot so easily however. But among the players fighting, Jones has played the best in the preseason games. Orlando will be hard pressed to let him go.
Defense Struggles… Again
And that is especially because Orlando continues to struggle defensively.
Maybe that was to be expected tonight with Orlando playing wihtout its key players to give them a rest. Still, Detroit was struggling offensively in the preseason to this point and found little resistence tonight.
The Pistons shot 54.3 percent from the floor and 10 for 21 from beyond the arc. They scored at least 25 points in the first three quarters and 24 in the fourth quarter. Detroit was getting baskets.
Orlando's 22 turnovers did not help — Jones had five on his own and Ayon had six.
The second quarter is also a bit troublesome and might become a running theme this season. it will be tough some nights to put together 48 really good minutes and likely that second quarter will be the let down when the starters take their first break. Tonight, Orlando's bench was already pretty depleted with the normal starters sitting out. Detroit took advantage on the scoreboard.
O'Quinn v. Drummond, Round 2
Kyle O'Quinn endeared himself to Magic fans with his play in a particular preseason game against first round pick Andre Drummond. So how did the two fare when they met up for the first time with the real jerseys on?
O'Quinn scored four points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots, shooting 2 for 7 for the game. Drummond had nine points, three rebounds and four blocked shots. Detroit was +24 with Drummond on the court.
I think the judges will give Drummond this round after O'Quinn went after Drummond in Summer League.
Still O'Quinn once again showed his defensive potential and the fact that he is not afraid of anybody. He is learning a lot this preseason. He remains a player the Magic want to follow.