The Orlando Magic snapped their three-game losing streak Friday with a dominant performance against the Detroit Pistons, earning the victory by a 109-92 final. In addition to ending their overall skid, the Magic ended their five-game home losing streak.
Arron Afflalo led Orlando with 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Tobias Harris (16 points, 10 rebounds), Nik Vučević (20 points, 11 rebounds), and Victor Oladipo (16 points, a career-high 11 assists) all recorded double-doubles in the rout. Brandon Jennings tallied 21 points and eight assists for Detroit, but he couldn't carry the foul-plagued Pistons all by himself, especially not with Josh Smith shooting 2-of-13 for five points.
Orlando finished the game shooting 52.9 percent from the floor, tied for their second-best mark of the season.
Detroit came out firing, and missing, in the first quarter, with Josh Smith misfiring on each of his first six shots before connecting on the seventh. But the Pistons terrifically large and skilled frontline got enough of their own misses that it hardly mattered: Detroit grabbed six offensive boards in 15 first-quarter chances, a rebounding rate of 40 percent, helping it stay within five points of Orlando despite shooting just 34.6 percent from the floor. Getting seven more shot attempts than one's opponent can do that for a team.
Orlando had no trouble running its offense in the first period, running through Afflalo in the low post and Glen Davis up high. Afflalo made the most of his mismatch against the rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, making three jumpers over him in the opening four minutes before the Magic looked elsewhere for scoring.
Orlando didn't create any real separation until the second period, using an unconventionally small lineup which exploited the foul-plagued Pistons' lack of big-man depth. Ronnie Price and Oladipo combined to score 17 of Orlando's 29 points in the period, with Price lifting the Amway Center crowd to its feet with a one-handed jam on a fastbreak.
The real story here is Oladipo's playmaking: he dished seven assists in the period and scored three more baskets of his own, meaning he scored or assisted on 10 of the Magic's 11 second-quarter buckets. And he did so while only committing one turnover. His success enabled coach Jacque Vaughn to rest Jameer Nelson for the entire second period.
Despite having Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in foul trouble, the Pistons shot 11-of-19 in the second period: their ability to convert without those two playing a major role signaled that Detroit could possibly work its way back into the game in the second half if it could figure a way to defend the Magic. At half, Orlando's edge was 55-48, with a buzzer-beating Josh Harrellson three-pointer the only reason Detroit didn't trail by double-digits.
A Drummond layup at the 9:41 mark of the third quarter brought the Pistons to within nine points, but the Magic responded with an 11-0 run over the game's next three minutes and 58 seconds to extend their lead to 20 points. In that span, Detroit shot 0-of-9 from the floor, and the futility streak only ended when Harrellson tipped in his own missed basket.
Orlando continued its onslaught from there, with a Nelson banking in a floater in the lane at the 2:02 mark of the third quarter to put his team up by 21, its largest lead of the night to that point. Orlando ended the period with an 85-66 lead thanks largely to Afflalo, who scored 11 points in the third on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor.
The Pistons drew to within 16 points early in the fourth quarter, but a Vučević tip-in with 10:19 to go put Orlando back up by 20, and the Pistons didn't get to within 15 points again until the 4:25 mark. Detroit never mounted a serious challenge in the fourth, and coach Maurice Cheeks pulled Jennings and Drummond, the last of his key contributors, with 5:47 to play. The only drama remaining: at which point Vaughn would empty his bench? He did so with 2:54 to play.