DETROIT (AP) – Dwane Casey had an easy time identifying when and how his team won this game.
“I think our defense was exceptional in the second half,” the Detroit coach said.
Casey shouldn’t get much argument from the Orlando Magic about that. They were held to 15 points in the third quarter and 33 in the second half of Detroit’s 103-88 win Monday night. Luke Kennard scored 20 points and Blake Griffin added 17 to lead the Pistons past the short-handed Magic.
Orlando was playing a second straight game without Nikola Vucevic, out with a right ankle sprain. The Magic are now 0-7 on the road this season.
“They’re good defensively and they were aggressive with their coverages,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “I thought in the first half we did a good job; the second half we just got away from it. ... The ball has got to move.”
Detroit went on an 11-0 run near the end of the third and led 78-70 at the start of the fourth. Orlando never really threatened after that. The Magic shot just 39% from the field and 8 of 25 from 3-point range.
The Pistons entered the day shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc, the second-best mark in the NBA. They were a bit below that clip Monday, going 14 of 38, but Langston Galloway and Svi Mykhailiuk made four 3-pointers each, and Kennard added three.
“When people play basketball and people play games, they get more adjusted to the game,” Mykhailiuk said. “When coach trusts you, it relaxes you and gives you more freedom on the court.”