Orlando, FL – Andrew Nicholson scored a career-high 15 points and the Orlando Magic used a dominant third quarter to deliver a 90-74 victory over a poor-shooting Detroit Pistons team at the Amway Center.
The Magic put together a 21-0 tear to begin the second half, turning a 3-point deficit into a comfortable lead before cruising towards only their second win in their last nine tries. That other triumph also came at the expense of the Pistons, a 110-106 decision over Detroit last Friday.
"It was just great concentration coming out of halftime," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "Guys were really focused and it showed."
Nicholson made good on 7-of-9 field goal attempts and Arron Afflalo added 12 points for Orlando, which also received a double-double from Glen Davis in the form of 11 points and a season-best 14 rebounds.
Detroit shot a woeful 9.5 percent (2-for-21) in the fateful third quarter and 32.9 percent for the game en route to its 10th defeat in 12 games this season. Greg Monroe led all players with 19 points, but netted just four after halftime.
The Pistons had a lead as large as 10 points in the first quarter and held a 48-45 edge at halftime, but it all fell apart during a brutal third period in which Detroit mustered a paltry eight points and turned the ball over seven times in addition to its shaky shooting display.
Detroit missed the mark on its first 15 attempts as the Magic built a cushy 66-49 advantage before their off-target opponent registered its first second- half point, a pair of Rodney Stuckey free throws with 2:15 left in the quarter. The Pistons' first basket after intermission didn't come until Stuckey hit a runner 18 seconds afterward.
"For a change, it felt good to be on a different side of a run like that," said Davis. "The last couple of games we had been in the ball game, but in the third quarter it would turn into a 17-point (deficit) and then it blows out."
The Pistons weren't much better during the fourth quarter, with Orlando pushing the differential to as much as 25 points after a 12-2 flurry to begin that frame gave the Magic an overwhelming 83-58 advantage with under six minutes to go.
"We had no energy to start," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said of the second half. "It was like we had to call timeout before our guys started the second half. There was a void of the necessary energy to play the game."
Orlando was also successful in neutralizing Monroe, holding the Detroit big man without a field goal after he was a major factor early on.
Monroe had tallied nine points in the game's first six minutes to help Detroit open up an early 19-9 lead, but Orlando drew even by embarking on a 10-2 run later on. A 3-point basket from Jameer Nelson brought the Magic with 29-27 with 9:37 left in the first half, and an Afflalo layup off a Nelson steal moments later knotted the score.
The contest remained tight over the remainder of the second quarter, with the Pistons heading into the break holding a 3-point edge following a 6-0 spurt capped by Stuckey's driving layup with 2.3 seconds to go.
Nicholson's previous high was 11 points, in which the rookie first-round pick set in a loss to New York on Nov. 13 ... The Magic recorded their first win in eight games this season when failing to score 100 points ... Detroit is now 0-10 on the season when allowing 85 points or more ... Monroe finished with eight rebounds to extend his streak of consecutive games with five or more boards to 103, the longest of any active player ... Orlando's victory was its third straight in the series, while the Pistons have now lost in five of their last six trips to Amway Arena.