The Orlando Magic are running out of excuses for their recent play. However, they must be excused for their most recent transgression against the lowly Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons defeated the short-handed Magic in relatively easy fashion 102-95 behind Greg Monroe’s 22 point and 11 rebound effort.
Orlando has been struggling mightily and playing a road game without 3 starters proved to be too much for the team to overcome. Dwight Howard missed his second straight game with a back injury. Jameer Nelson (calf) and Ryan Anderson (ankle) also missed the contest.
Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, and Glen Davis took the place of the missing starters with Hedo Turkgolu sliding over to play power forward.
Davis set a career high with 31 points while pulling down 10 rebounds for his second straight double double in the absence of Howard. Turkgolu added 16 points and Duhon chipped in 13 points in the loss.
Despite the offensive explosion from Davis it was Howard’s defense in the paint that Orlando missed sorely. The Pistons found their drives to the basket an easy journey scoring 56 points in the paint while the Magic managed just 30 of their own. Couple that with the blistering hot 56% the Pistons shot from the field and the Magic were destined to fall.
“We don’t play any defense. Dwight would obviously help, but we don’t guard,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We don’t guard when Dwight is on the floor and we don’t guard when Dwight is off the floor. If that doesn’t change in the next three weeks, we aren’t going anywhere.”
Orlando has now dropped 4 straight games and has seen their strangle hold on the third seed in the Eastern Conference slip away.
The loss drops the Magic to fifth behind Indiana and Boston. A position that would leave them without home court advantage in the first round if things stayed in this desolate state.
If their is a positive that can be salvaged from the recent losing rubble it has been the overall play of Davis. He has been efficient and most importantly he has been engaged. Certainly Van Gundy has to take note of his play and use Davis going forward to provide a spark off the bench. A role he too must embrace after his horrific start to the season.
Davis has played for a champion and been brought up so to speak in a winning culture having played for the Celtics the previous 4 seasons. Instead of pouting he must now rally this team and help Howard lead once the all-star center returns.
I think the last two games might have finally woken Davis up and regained his interest in the Magic’s plans this season. The Magic can only hope that his revival has not come to late before the slip further down the Eastern Conference standings into oblivion.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com