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Knight, Monroe carry the load as Pistons outmuscle Magic

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Associated Press
1/22/2013 10:18:46 PM
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AUBURN HILS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons don't get a lot of chances to dominate games with their post presence. When they got an opportunity Tuesday night, they took advantage.

Jason Maxiell, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 38 points and 28 rebounds, and the Pistons pulled away to beat the undersized Orlando Magic 105-90 Tuesday night.

"The performance from our bigs was really good," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "That was a big part of our game plan tonight."

Brandon Knight led Detroit with 18 points, while Monroe scored 16 and Drummond and Maxiell each had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pistons ooutrebounded Orlando 54-41, including 16-6 edge in offensive rebounds. The Magic had their size issues magnified when Glen Davis was benched for much of the second half after taking 15 first-half shots and grabbing just three rebounds.

"I knew I had a big matchup tonight against (Davis), and I wanted to set the tone early," Maxiell said. "In a game like this, I'm completely focused on defence. The offence is just going to come on its own."

After missing his first shot of the second half, Davis picked up a technical foul from the bench and ended up with three teammates and an assistant coach surrounding him to prevent an ejection. He only returned briefly when the game was out of hand, and finished with 11 points.

"I played 23 minutes and I took 16 shots that were all good looks," he said. "The second half, I should have stayed aggressive, but I took myself out of the game by getting a tech, and I was not helping the team, so Coach sat me."

J.J. Redick was Orlando's biggest threat, scoring 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting -- including 5 for 6 on 3-pointers. Jameer Nelson added 14 points and nine rebounds, but leading scorer Arron Afflalo missed his only four shots.

"I was really excited and enthused about our approach tonight, and I thought we had a great shootaround this morning," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We certainly didn't get the results we were after. You have to play at both ends of the floor."

After an even first half, the Pistons got a tiebreaking basket after a strange play to end the second quarter. Detroit had a foul to give, so Will Bynum grabbed Nelson 30 feet from the basket. Nelson, trying to draw a shooting foul, flipped the ball straight up into the air. Both teams froze, expecting a whistle, but when nothing was called, Kyle Singler grabbed the loose ball and Monroe finished the half with an uncontested dunk.

That put the Pistons up 54-52 at the half despite 17 first-half points from Redick. He hit all six of his first-half shots, including three 3-pointers and a four-point play.

"Redick is just a monster out there," Frank said. "He's having the best season of his career, and when he starts shooting like that, there's not a whole lot you can do. We knew that we had to make the difference inside, and that's what our bigs were able to do."

Maxiell had nine points and 11 rebounds in the half for Detroit, who only committed two turnovers in the first two quarters.

"We were shooting 60 per cent from the floor and 50 per cent on threes, and we were still down two at the half," Vaughn said. "That shows you that it boiled down to the matter of stopping the other team."

Monroe and Drummond combined for 16 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back dunks by Drummond in the last minute of the period, as Detroit built a 82-66 lead. By the fourth quarter, even 6-foot-5 Rodney Stuckey was dunking in traffic against the lethargic Magic defence.

"We know that if we play with a lot of fight and a lot of effort every game, we'll get some great wins," Drummond said. "We weren't trying to do anything fancy. We were just finishing plays."

NOTES: Busta Rhymes provided the six-minute halftime show, but also had a technical glitch. After his first song, he dropped the microphone, which then rolled off the makeshift stage. Luckily, a quick-thinking stagehand was able to retrieve it after a few seconds. ... Nelson had to be escorted off the court by teammates after continuing to argue the no-call at the end of the half.

Greg Monroe (Photo: J. Dennis/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: J. Dennis/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
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