Kim Klement/USA TODAY
The second quarter began how it always seems to begin. The starters took their normal rest and the young second unit — the self-dubbed "Young Guns" — got their chance. This is a group that usually just provides a ton of energy. It is hard to say what they will bring consistently beyond energy, effort and hustle.
Some nights they will struggle to get much going offensively. Other nights they will blow the doors out, using their defense to spark their offense and catching the other team completely flat-footed.
The latter took place Wednesday night for the Magic as the group of Victor Oladipo, Doron Lamb, E'Twaun Moore, Maurice Harkless and Kyle O'Quinn sparked the Magic to a killer 31-17 second quarter and never looked back for a 112-98 win over the Pistons at Amway Center on Wednesday.
That lineup opened the second quarter and almost immediately brought energy to the game. Not that energy was lacking before. This was different though.
Kyle O'Quinn was beginning to assert himself in the paint, looking like the better big man against his old Summer League nemesis in Andre Drummond. It was kick-starting fast breaks as the Magic got things rolling and continues a free-flowing offensive rhythm that carried over from an 11-assist first quarter and 26 points.
The Magic seemed to have one good play lead to the next with ease. The Pistons could not quite do much to stop it. Not with shots falling by the wayside. Josh Smith was able to answer a few times, but Orlando had the lead in double digits a little bit past the midway point and never gave up a hold of that lead.
"It shows a lot of character, a lot of growth," Glen Davis said. "Once upon a time, those leads would cut down to five, six, two or even we lose a lead. That was big on the part of the young guys making sure they withheld the run the Pistons did. Guys like Kyle have grown a lot and Moe did some tremendous things."
Harkless scored 15 points off the bench and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. He made five of his 11 shots, but shot the ball confidently, driving to the basket when he was not comfortable with the look he had. Kyle O'Quinn had eight points and a career-best six blocks. Each one seemed to send the Magic crowd buzzing and was a statement to the Pistons bigs and guards to stay out.
They largely listened and they largely missed from that point on.
Detroit shot 45.9 percent from the floor, but just 6 of 20 from beyond the arc and missed nine of the team's 23 free throw attempts. Jennings hit on just two of his 10 3-pointers and Josh Smith missed all four of his long-range attempts despite a 25-point, 12-rebound outing.
The Magic defense was the catalyst for sure as the perimeter rotations were strong to force the ball to those struggling shooters. Detroit had 15 turnovers and never could get on the same page or the same speed as the Magic throughout the game.
The Magic scored 15 fast break points and 58 points in the paint, outrebounding the Pistons 44-36 and getting one more offensive rebound this time around after getting dominated on the glass last week in Detroit.
The offense flowed nicely as Glen Davis mentioned and the ball movement made things extremely easy to find good looks and make shots.
Jameer Nelson recorded 11 assists in the game, with five coming in the first quarter. Arron Afflalo had 15 points and seven assists as they set a tone of moving the ball and playing together, moving off the ball too to create open scoring opportunities. Even with the Pistons bigs providing some menacing force, the Magic kept attacking.
"It was across the board," Jacque Vaughn said. It was from our bigs and our smalls. Just trusting each other and making the simple and the right pass. That is really what we have been talking about just make the simple play. That will be good enough. We get a shot, live with the consequences and live with what your teammate does."
The Magic had 29 assists on their 44 made field goals and it was truly because of a brief moment of stagnation that the Pistons cut the lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter.
That moment was brief as O'Quinn followed it with a sequence that featured two blocks and the Magic pushe dthe lead back out to a comfortable margin. Detroit never seriously threatened again.
"[We] just tried to build off the positivity," Harkless said. "Getting a stop, run out and get an easy layup. Hopefully we can keep building off this into the next game."
That is where the challenge begins with Oklahoma City and Indiana due up next on this four-game homestand at Amway Center.