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The Magic’s Aaron Afflalo, who had 12 points, goes hard to the basket on the Pistons’ Greg Monroe during the second quarter.

Orlando Sentinel

The Magic’s Aaron Afflalo, who had 12 points, goes hard to the basket on the Pistons’ Greg Monroe during the second quarter.

ORLANDO — In the third quarter of its game Wednesday, the Magic resembled the 1995-96 NBA champion Bulls, while the Pistons looked like last season's abysmal Bobcats.

The difference between the teams was that pronounced.

The Magic scored the quarter's first 21 and transformed a close game into a laugher that must have spiked the blood pressure of Pistons coach Lawrence Frank to dangerous levels.

Orlando beat Detroit 90-74, leaving the Magic and its announced crowd of 17,199 inside Amway Center with plenty of reasons to feel thankful.

Rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson played the best game of his short career, scoring a team-high 15 on 7-of-9 shooting. Rookie small forward Maurice Harkless made his first start and helped limit Pistons swingman Tayshaun Prince to 10 points. And power forward Glen Davis had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

But the Magic was most thankful for a bizarrely one-sided start to the third quarter in which it outscored the Pistons 21-0 and saw Detroit open 0-for-15 from the field.

The Pistons didn't score a second-half point until Rodney Stuckey hit two free throws with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

By then, Orlando led 66-50.

One minute later, Nicholson scored on an open dunk off a feed by Gustavo Ayon, putting the Magic up 71-52 and forcing Frank to call a timeout.

The Magic beat the Pistons for the second time in six days.

The Magic trailed the Pistons by as many as 10 points in the first quarter Wednesday, the fifth time this season that Orlando has faced a double-digit deficit in the first.

On Friday, when Orlando beat Detroit 110-106 in Auburn Hills, Mich., the Pistons also took a 10-point first-quarter lead. Pistons center Greg Monroe dominated in both games' first quarters, hitting four shots in each.

But the tone of Wednesday's game shifted when Nicholson drew a charge on Monroe with 4.8 seconds left in the first.

Monroe had scored 11 at that point but managed only eight the rest of the way.

The charging foul also ignited a 10-2 Orlando run that started with a long jumper by J.J. Redick at the end of the quarter and culminated with a layup by Arron Afflalo to tie the score at 29 with 9:19 left before halftime.

That run portended what was to come.

After Detroit made 20 of its 41 shots in the first half, the Pistons made four of their first 35 attempts in the second.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Jeremy Pargo, filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving, scored a career-high 28, and the host Cavaliers broke a six-game losing streak with a 92-83 win over the 76ers.

LATE TUESDAY: Ever since Mike D'Antoni got a new knee and a new job in rapid succession this month, his life has been a jumble of unfamiliar faces, grueling rehabilitation sessions and anonymous hotel rooms.

For a few hours Tuesday night, the veteran coach finally got back into his natural environment. And even if he's not quite ready to roam an NBA sideline with his usual vigor, the Lakers moved smoothly under his command.

D'Antoni made his debut on the Lakers' bench in a 95-90 victory over the visiting Nets. Nine days after he was hired and five days after he flew to Los Angeles to start work, D'Antoni finally coached a game on the sideline with no stumbles during Los Angeles' fifth win in six games.

"I've felt different for about two weeks now, so this feels good," D'Antoni said. "Everybody is kidding you — and yes, the pressure is there — but you know what? This feels great. I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't know if (the knee) was any better today than yesterday, but it's going to be the same tomorrow, too, so it's good."

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Forward Kevin Love was a surprise activation for the Timberwolves in their late game against the Nuggets. Love hadn't played this season after breaking his right hand during the exhibition season. The initial timetable was six to eight weeks to recover, but he returned in just more than four. … Nets reserve power forward Reggie Evans became the first player in the NBA to be fined under the league's new anti-flopping rules. The league announced that Evans was fined $5,000 for picking up his second flopping violation of the season late in the third quarter of Tuesday night's 95-90 loss to the Lakers. … Former Gator Udonis Haslem became the leading rebounder in Heat history with his second of the game, giving him 4,808 to pass Alonzo Mourning. … Clippers starting forward Caron Butler missed the game because of a strained right shoulder. … The Celtics waived center Darko Milicic at his request to deal with a personal matter.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Magic 90, Pistons 74

DETROIT (74): Prince 5-12 0-0 10, Maxiell 2-7 0-1 4, Monroe 5-11 9-11 19, Knight 3-11 1-3 8, Singler 1-6 0-0 2, Drummond 2-4 0-0 4, Stuckey 4-9 5-6 13, Maggette 0-2 0-0 0, Jerebko 1-6 0-1 2, Bynum 2-8 0-0 4, Villanueva 0-5 0-0 0, Daye 1-1 0-0 3, English 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 28-85 15-22 74.

ORLANDO (90): Harkless 3-7 1-2 7, Davis 4-9 3-4 11, Vucevic 3-6 0-0 6, Nelson 3-7 2-2 10, Afflalo 5-13 2-4 12, McRoberts 2-5 0-0 5, Nicholson 7-9 1-2 15, Redick 4-13 2-2 11, Moore 1-4 0-0 3, Ayon 3-6 2-2 8, O'Quinn 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-83 13-18 90.

Detroit 27 21 8 18— 74

Orlando 21 24 26 19— 90

3-Point GoalsDetroit 3-17 (Daye 1-1, Knight 1-1, English 1-2, Maggette 0-1, Bynum 0-1, Prince 0-2, Singler 0-3, Villanueva 0-3, Stuckey 0-3), Orlando 5-20 (Nelson 2-5, Moore 1-1, McRoberts 1-3, Redick 1-7, Jones 0-1, Afflalo 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDetroit 52 (Monroe, Prince 8), Orlando 64 (Davis 14). AssistsDetroit 15 (Knight 5), Orlando 24 (Redick, Nelson 7). Total FoulsDetroit 16, Orlando 23. TechnicalsOrlando defensive three second. A17,199 (18,500).

Cavaliers 92, 76ers 83

PHILADELPHIA (83): Turner 5-13 2-3 12, T.Young 5-12 1-2 11, Brown 2-3 1-2 5, Holiday 6-16 2-2 16, Richardson 6-13 2-2 16, Hawes 2-5 0-1 4, N.Young 4-13 5-6 13, Ivey 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 1-7 4-4 6, Wilkins 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-86 17-22 83.

CLEVELAND (92): Gee 5-9 0-0 14, Thompson 1-7 2-3 4, Varejao 3-10 4-5 10, Pargo 11-19 2-4 28, Waiters 7-22 0-0 16, Zeller 1-7 0-0 2, Miles 5-9 0-0 13, Casspi 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 35-86 9-14 92.

Philadelphia 15 20 23 25— 83

Cleveland 28 19 21 24— 92

3-Point GoalsPhiladelphia 4-17 (Holiday 2-3, Richardson 2-6, Ivey 0-1, Turner 0-1, Hawes 0-1, N.Young 0-2, Wright 0-3), Cleveland 13-23 (Gee 4-6, Pargo 4-8, Miles 3-4, Waiters 2-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsPhiladelphia 51 (T.Young 11), Cleveland 65 (Varejao 19). AssistsPhiladelphia 18 (Turner 7), Cleveland 17 (Waiters 6). Total FoulsPhiladelphia 16, Cleveland 14. TechnicalsVarejao. A16,743 (20,562).

Bobcats 98, Raptors 97

TORONTO (97): McGuire 0-1 0-2 0, Bargnani 9-17 5-5 25, Valanciunas 8-11 0-0 16, Lowry 6-15 5-7 21, DeRozan 6-13 2-3 14, Johnson 0-1 1-2 1, Calderon 2-8 1-1 7, Ross 5-9 0-0 11, Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Kleiza 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 37-80 14-20 97.

CHARLOTTE (98): Kidd-Gilchrist 4-7 6-7 14, Mullens 4-14 2-4 10, Haywood 2-4 2-2 6, Walker 8-16 2-3 19, Taylor 4-8 2-2 11, Warrick 0-1 0-0 0, Biyombo 5-6 1-2 11, Sessions 5-19 4-4 14, Gordon 4-11 4-4 13. Totals 36-86 23-28 98.

Toronto 25 28 21 23— 97

Charlotte 22 31 22 23— 98

3-Point GoalsToronto 9-23 (Lowry 4-7, Bargnani 2-3, Calderon 2-6, Ross 1-4, Kleiza 0-3), Charlotte 3-19 (Taylor 1-2, Walker 1-4, Gordon 1-5, Sessions 0-3, Mullens 0-5). Fouled OutValanciunas. ReboundsToronto 46 (Valanciunas 10), Charlotte 58 (Mullens, Biyombo 8). AssistsToronto 23 (Lowry 8), Charlotte 21 (Walker 7). Total FoulsToronto 25, Charlotte 21. TechnicalsDeRozan, Taylor, Walker, Charlotte defensive three second. A15,240 (19,077).

Times wires 11/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:03pm]

    

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