Posted November 20, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Orlando Magic have been brutal offensively the last two weeks, with their lone win being the exception. The Magic will try to replicate that offensive showing in Wednesday night's rematch with the Detroit Pistons, who have been inconsistent defensively. After opening the season by averaging 108.5 points in a pair of wins and scoring 93 in a loss to a Chicago team known for being tough defensively, Orlando (3-7) has had virtually no luck scoring. The Magic have gone 1-6 in their last seven while averaging 77.3 points and 39.9 percent shooting in the defeats. As bad as it's looked, Orlando did manage to exhibit a legitimate NBA offense in a 110-106 win over the Pistons on Friday. J.J. Redick led the way with 23 points and Arron Afflalo scored 19 for the Magic, who shot a season-best 49.4 percent and had 66 points after halftime. Orlando, however, has since reverted to its sputtering ways, falling 97-86 in Toronto on Sunday and shooting 37.8 percent in an 81-72 defeat to Atlanta on Monday. With 11 points against the Hawks, Glen Davis was the only player to score in double figures for the Magic, who had all of their starters in double digits against the Pistons. It didn't help that Redick (flu) and Jameer Nelson (cough) were not at full strength and combined for 10 points while shooting 4 of 15. Considering how the team has played, however, even a healthy Redick and Nelson might have not made much difference for Orlando, which had 17 assists to 19 turnovers and scored 12 third-quarter points. "(We) just need to make the easy play," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Basketball's complicated when you make it complicated. First guy that's open, pass it to him. Get movement and keep it simple." The Magic didn't seem to have much trouble with that approach against Detroit, compiling 27 assists to 15 turnovers. The Pistons (2-9) managed to clean up some of the defensive issues that plagued them against Orlando in a 103-83 win over Boston on Sunday. It helped that they were facing a Celtics team playing its fourth game in five nights, but coach Lawrence Frank was happy with the effort. "We knew what their schedule situation was, and we wanted to take advantage,'' he said. "We were able to get key stops, and that opened everything up for us." The Pistons, who held Boston to 4 of 17 from 3-point range, have allowed an average of 79.5 points in their two wins compared to 102.4 in their defeats. "We've gotten both of our wins with a tough defensive mindset," Frank said. "That's the only way this team is going to consistently win games.'' It hasn't hurt that the club is improving offensively. Detroit shot a season-high 54.2 percent Sunday after hitting 53.7 percent against the Magic. It averaged 91.3 points and shot 41.9 percent in opening 0-8. Greg Monroe had team highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds against the Celtics and led six Pistons in double figures with 23 versus Orlando. Kyle Singler has scored 14 in each of the last two games, while Jason Maxiell has totaled 26.
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