Denton: Magic vs. Pistons Analysis (2/5/14)
Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis chipped in 18 points, while Arron Afflalo added 15. Jameer Nelson scored just seven points, but he handed out 11 assists.
Afterward, it was O’Quinn who drew most of the praise from the coaching staff and his teammates.
``Kyle has put his time in. He’s a newbie to the game of basketball, but he’s growing so much and his sense of urgency is going through the roof now,’’ Davis said of a player he’s mentored. ``I’m just proud of him with the way that he’s contributing to this team and the way that he brings his energy every day.’’
Josh Smith scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Pistons. Jennings had 15 points and 10 assists, but he was a dismal five of 23 shooting and two of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Orlando got Nelson back after he had missed the past two games with a sore left knee. Nelson returned to the starting lineup, while Oladipo went back into a sixth man role.
Wednesday’s game was the first of four straight at the Amway Center for the Magic. Orland will host Oklahoma City (Friday), Indiana (Sunday) and Memphis (Wednesday) before getting four days off for the NBA All-Star Game.
Leading 57-43 at the half, Orlando scored at will in the third quarter and pushed it lead to a somewhat shocking 20 points (83-63 and 85-65) in the third quarter. But the problem was that the Magic were giving up points as quickly as they were scoring them. Detroit. The Pistons, which burned two timeouts 27 seconds apart early in the period, made 13 of 22 shots in a 31-point third quarter.
As has been the case recently in home games, Orlando was locked in and focused in the first half while jumping to a 14-point lead. Orlando didn’t seem one bit bothered by Detroit’s size along the frontline by aggressively attacking the rim. Despite being the much smaller team, Orlando held a 32—24 edge on points in the paint in the first two quarters. For the game, Orlando outscored Detroit 58-52 in the paint.
When the Pistons invariably made their run in the fourth quarter and the Magic looked extremely vulnerable to collapsing, O’Quinn was there to make the kind of two-block play that won’t soon be forgotten by Magic players and coaches. Vaughn stressed afterward that O’Quinn has earned the team’s trust and he’s carved out a role on the team with his solid play of late.
Earning that trust, O’Quinn said, makes him just want to go out and play harder and harder and make more game-changing plays like the one he delivered when the Magic needed it the most on Wednesday.
``It means a lot because you’re not looking over your shoulder as much,’’ said O’Quinn, noting that his increased playing time has helped him feel more confident on the floor. ``You just go out there and play now. I’m just going out there with four guys and playing and I’m not looking over my shoulder or nervous that I will mess that unit up. The little trust that (Vaughn) has in me I appreciate that and I just want to keep moving forward.’’
Follow John Denton on Twitter here