Alec Burks’ near-perfect night carries Detroit Pistons past Magic; game marred by incident

Detroit Free Press

Alec Burks scored a season-high 32 points, Saddiq Bey added 28 and the Detroit Pistons overcame the ejection of two players after a scuffle to beat the Orlando Magic, 121-101, on Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena and snap a six-game losing streak.

Killian Hayes and Hamadou Diallo were thrown out after the fight just before halftime. Moritz Wagner was tossed for Orlando and took a shot to the back of the head from Hayes and appeared to be briefly knocked out.

Jalen Duren finished with seven points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons, who got 76 points from their bench, which has led the NBA in scoring in December.

Franz Wagner had 19 points for Orlando, which lost on back-to-back nights after winning eight of nine.

With 33 seconds left in the first half, Moritz Wagner hip-checked Hayes into the Pistons bench as they chased a loose ball. With Wagner facing the players on the Detroit bench, every Orlando player in uniform raced to the spot.

Wagner was ejected for a flagrant foul, while Hayes and Hamadou Diallo were ejected for their actions in the aftermath. Hayes got back up and struck Wagner in the back of the head, knocking him into the bench.

Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr, Gary Harris and Mo Bamba were among the Orlando players who left the bench area during the confrontation at the end of the first half.

Detroit’s second unit outscored Orlando’s 42-14 in the first half, with Bey (16), Burks (14) and Diallo (11) all reaching double figures. None of the game’s 10 starters got past nine in the half.

The Pistons led, 66-47, at halftime, thanks to the contributions of the reserves, and Orlando was never able to get the lead back to single figures.

Burks started the second half with Hayes having been ejected, leaving Detroit’s second unit without two of its three top scorers. He was called for a flagrant 1 foul for an unsuccessful attempt to stop Mo Bamba from dunking late in the third quarter, leading to a five-point Magic possession.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s 14 points gave him 9,787 in his career, 23 behind Toni Kukoč’s record for a Croatian player.

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