Without Howard, Magic ease past Pistons 119-89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said his team showed probably its most toughness of the season in grinding out a win against Philadelphia last week to end a five-game losing streak.
The Magic may not have had to display that same late-game vigor in their victory over Detroit on Monday night, but they certainly left their coach with plenty more to marvel at.
Jason Richardson hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points, J.J. Redick had 20 points and the Magic eased past the Pistons, 119-89.
Glen Davis added 16 points and 16 rebounds starting in place of center Dwight Howard, who missed his third game in two weeks with back spasms.
All five Orlando starters reached double figures in its first win this season over a Detroit team that normally can be counted on to play them tough.
Not on this night, though.
"Everybody's on one page and I've never felt like we've been on such a page," Davis said. "We've been a good team the whole year, but I think these last couple of games and especially the Philly game we've been on the same page. Defensively. Energy-wise. Everybody's been trying to read the same book."
The Magic also were playing without backup point guard Chris Duhon, who was suspended for the game for conduct detrimental to the team. It didn't matter, though, as their energy and falling shots overwhelmed a Detroit team that was playing its fourth game in five nights.
"There are going to be ups and downs with nine games to go. But I like the level we've played at the last two games and hopefully it will continue," Van Gundy said.
Tayshaun Prince led Detroit with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Collectively, though, it made little more than a dent against a Magic club that shot 53 percent (42 for 80) from the field and 54 percent (15 for 28) from the 3-point line.
The Pistons lost their third straight game since a three-game winning streak. They conclude their four-game road trip at Charlotte on Thursday.
"It's very embarrassing," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "I think it's everything. (Being) mentally (and) physically, prepared to compete in an NBA game...But we've got to make a decision as a group, how we want to go forward. This is where character's revealed."
Said Villanueva: "We put that 4-20 start behind us and we have been playing good basketball since then. The past two games we have let our guard down and kind of forgotten what got us to this point."
With both Howard and Hedo Turkoglu (out for the regular-season with a facial fracture) missing from the starting lineup, Van Gundy inserted Davis and Redick into the lineup.
Neither player disappointed early, with Redick connecting from the outside and scoring eight first-quarter points, and Davis reaching double-double status just minutes into the second period.
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