Detroit Pistons lose at home to Orlando, 119-112, but ‘win’ in NBA draft lottery race

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons controlled the first 18 minutes of the game Monday night, but the Orlando Magic flipped the switch midway through the second quarter.

In a game that could impact the final lottery odds in two weeks, the Pistons (19-46) lost to the Magic at Little Caesars Arena, 119-112. Detroit took a 43-36 lead at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter, but Orlando closed the quarter with a 15-3 run and led the rest of the way.

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With the loss, the Pistons’ separation for the second-best lottery odds grew. Detroit has a worst record than the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-45), the Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder (both 21-44).

Saddiq Bey led all scorers with 26 points, making five 3-pointers for the 11th time this season and second straight game. His 5-for-10 night from behind the arc gives him a two-game lead for the rookie record. Allen Iverson and Steph Curry are tied for second place with nine such games.

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Frank Jackson scored 19 points off of the bench, and Hamidou Diallo added 16 points and seven rebounds in his first start of the season for the Pistons. Cook had 13 points off of the bench and Isaiah Stewart finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Bey nearly led a comeback for the Pistons during the final five minutes, scoring eight consecutive points from the 4:16 mark to the 3:31 mark to cut the deficit to three. But five points each from Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan) and Mo Bamba put the Pistons away.

Diallo thrives during first start

After missing Saturday’s loss against the Charlotte Hornets with knee soreness, it wasn’t clear if Diallo would play on Monday. He carried a “questionable” diagnoses on the injury report on Sunday night.

His knee didn’t appear to ail him, as he put together one of his best performances of the season against the Magic. It included a pair of clutch buckets in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, as the Pistons were looking to take their first lead of the second half.

He grabbed a rebound in traffic and finished a fallaway midrange jumper over Bamba with 2:50 to play to cut the deficit back to three, and a driving layup with 1:27 left to reduce it to four. His 16 points (5-for-10 shooting, 2-for-4 from 3) marked his highest-scoring outing since March 31, when he scored 19 points.

Tyler Cook brings energy off of bench

It’s been about six weeks since Cook joined the Pistons on a 10-day contract, and just under a month since the franchise signed him through the rest of the season. He’s been in and out of the rotation the last few weeks, but Monday illustrated why the Pistons held on to him.

He finished with 13 points and three rebounds in 16 minutes, making all six of his shot attempts. His highlight play was a poster dunk against Bamba early in the fourth quarter.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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