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Magic 112, Pistons 98: Orlando hangs on in second half

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Orlando's defense limited Detroit just enough to build a 14-point halftime lead, and then held on from there as the Magic won their third straight at home.

Glen Davis and Josh Smith
Glen Davis and Josh Smith
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic's offense hummed in their 112-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, enabling the team to pick up its third straight home victory, tying a season-long home winning streak.

Glen Davis put together one of his finest games of the season, shooting 8-of-12 for 18 points and four assists. Jameer Nelson dished a season-high 11 assists of his own. Maurice Harkless came up one rebound shy of his second career double-double and scored 15 points.

Pistons gadget forward Josh Smith scored 25 points with 12 boards in a losing effort. Andre Drummond posted a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double, but the Magic controlled the glass anyway, winning the rebounding battle against the tall Pistons by a 44-36 margin.

The teams finished the first quarter tied at 26, but little in Detroit's performance suggested reasons for optimism: it shot just 40 percent from the floor and only managed to keep the game competitive by virtue of getting to the foul line. The Pistons went 8-of-10 from the stripe to Orlando's 0-of-0 mark. Certainly drawing fouls is a valuable skill, and I don't wish to demean its impact, but the Pistons didn't have anything else going for them.

It came as little surprise, then, when the Magic took command in the second period: Victor Oladipo scored 10 of his 12 first-half points in the second with numerous drives to the rim, particularly with Detroit shot-blocker extraordinaire Drummond on the bench. A smallish lineup with Harkless at power forward created some chaos, disrupting the Pistons' offense and creating early scoring opportunities for the Magic. Kyle O'Quinn played a key role in that stretch, contributing four points, two boards, an assist, two steals, and a block to the cause. By the time coach Jacque Vaughn reloaded with some of his starters, Orlando had opened an eight-point lead. It'd balloon to 14 points by the end of the half on a pair of Davis free throws.

A stickback from Tobias Harris put Orlando's lead up to 19 points with 7:54 to play in the third and capped a 10-2 Orlando run, but Pistons two-guard Kyle Singler answered with consecutive three-pointers to shave six points off that margin. Moments later, back-to-back scores from Davis and a Nelson triple restored Orlando's lead to 18 points, keeping Detroit at bay despite yielding high-percentage scoring on defense: the Pistons went 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) in the third quarter for 31 points, but the Magic netted 31 of their own to maintain their halftime lead.

Detroit drew to within 10 points early in the fourth quarter and appeared to be mounting a run, given the strength of its third-quarter offense. To the Magic's credit, they stood their ground in impressive fashion: O'Quinn blocked two Detroit shots in a seven-second span, the second of which rejections ignited an Orlando break which he patiently finished with a layup as the Pistons' trailing defenders sailed by. Following that string of hustle plays from the second-year big man, Orlando took a 14-point lead.

After a quiet third quarter, Oladipo made waves midway through the fourth by scoring four straight points to put Orlando up 17. His driving, open-floor dunk after picking off a Smith pass prompted a Pistons timeout. The rout continued from there.