Orlando's Rashard Lewis glides to the basket for 2 of his 20 points as Detroit's Rasheed Wallace looks on. Lewis' Magic defeated Wallace's Pistons by a final score of 103-85.
Photo by Gary Malera, the Associated Press
Last night's game was certainly a most pleasant surprise. I didn't think we'd win in Detroit, and certainly not in such a convincing manner.
That said, it's hard to take much away from this game. As Kelly Dwyer noted in today's Behind the Boxscore piece at Ball Don't Lie, both teams were still trying to regroup after the All-Star break, and neither team really seemed much like itself. It's really unlike the Pistons to pack it in early the way they did. They never challenged in the second half, electing to sit their stars. It's just as well for us and for them, as both teams play again tonight.
It's certainly encouraging to see Rashard Lewis be more aggressive, though. I hope he keeps it up. He had one of his best games of the season last night, making 8-of-10 shots in route to scoring 20 points. More importantly, he drove the ball to the basket and rarely settled for the open three-pointer. Going to the basket yields higher-percentage shots, and at some point Lewis is bound to get to the foul line. If he can get his driving game going, and if Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard can right themselves offensively, the Magic should be in pretty good shape heading into the playoffs.
About the only thing I'm disappointed in is J.J. Redick's lack of playing time. With a 26-point lead early in the fourth quarter, there's no reason to hold J.J. out of the game. He only played the final 4 minutes of the game, registering a foul as his only statistic. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy should have let J.J. play the entire fourth quarter. There was no way Pistons coach Flip Saunders was going to counter with Richard Hamilton or Chauncey Billups, not when facing such a huge deficit.
I found it amusing how active Pat Garrity was in his limited playing time. Pat knows he's being showcased, and seemed like he had something to prove. He aggressively pulled down a defensive board, even throwing his elbows around a little bit. He later launched a wide-open three, which just barely rimmed-out. It's good to see Pat being a good sport about being on the trading block.
Tonight's game is in Toronto. The preview
will be up shortly is up now. Until then, enjoy these goodies from tonight's game: