Pistons suffer ninth straight defeat in blowout 128-102 loss to Magic

Detroit News

Orlando — The Pistons and Orlando Magic are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and appear to have promising futures with their collectives of young talent, but are currently going through the growing pains of their respective rebuilds.

Sunday marked the fourth meeting of the season between the Pistons and Magic and the common theme of their series ran true, yet again. The home team prevails.

After taking the first two games in Detroit, the Magic evened the series with a dominating 128-102 victory over the Pistons. The loss marked nine consecutive losses for Detroit (16-62), while Orlando improved to 34-44 and avoided elimination from the Play-In tournament.

There was an equal scoring balance with Orlando, with eight players finishing in double figures. The Magic’s frontcourt led the way with Paolo Banchero (14 points, nine rebounds), Franz Wagner (16 points, eight assists) and Wendell Carter Jr. (14 points, nine rebounds) making their presence felt down low. The Magic’s trio of guards took turns carving Detroit’s defense up, especially Markelle Fultz, who finished with 11 points, six assists, two blocks and one emphatic windmill dunk. Jalen Suggs tallied a team-high 18 points and four steals.

Leading the way for the Pistons was Eugene Omoruyi, who had a tale of two halves. After missing his first six 3-pointers in the first half, the former 10-day standout made three 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with 19 points. Killian Hayes had a solid outing with a team-high 20 points and seven assists, but he accounted for five of the Detroit’s 16 turnovers. Jaden Ivey added 14 points and six assists.

The Magic blew the game open with a 21-4 run in the second quarter, a period which lasted nearly 40 minutes due to stoppages from technical fouls, clock issues and replay reviews. Orlando outscored the Pistons 29-15 in the second quarter to take a 63-44 lead into the half.

The Pistons will return to Detroit for a two-game homestand with Tuesday and Wednesday’s back-to-back against the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets, respectively, before finishing the season with a two-game trip against Indiana and Chicago.

Here are a few more observations from Sunday’s loss:

Bagley’s quick exit: Marvin Bagley’s time on the floor was cut short eight minutes into the game after he was fouled by Magic center Goga Bitadze. He took an apparent knee to the back of the head and remained on the court for a brief moment while holding the back of his head. Bagley was able to step to the line and drain a couple of free throws, but he grimaced and held his head on nearly every possession after taking the hit. He eventually asked out of the game and went back to the locker room for the remainder of the first quarter. He was ruled doubtful for the remainder of the game at the 8:45 mark of the second quarter, which rang true because he did not return to the Pistons’ bench.

Wiseman rebounds: Wiseman struggled against Houston on Friday, fouling out with just six points, but he rebounded with a solid performance against the Magic. He scored the Pistons’ first six points as he started the game with his patented jump hook. He corralled seven rebounds in his seven-minute stint of the first quarter before returning midway through the second quarter. He finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

R.J.’s reunion: Sunday’s game marked a reunion for RJ Hampton, who spent two seasons in Orlando until he was bought out by the Magic after the trade deadline. The Pistons signed him to a contract for the remainder of the season two days after he was released. Hampton checked late in the first quarter and drew a foul upon entering, but missed both of his free throws to start the game. Hampton also appeared to have a clean block on Bitadze in the final seconds of the first quarter, but the officials deemed it a shooting foul. It wasn’t the most ideal reunion as Hampton finished with just four points and two rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.

Clock issues: The game was interrupted at the 7:55 mark of the second quarter when there was an equipment malfunction with the game clocks above each basket. Play resumed after a few minutes and with both clocks out, the Magic’s public address announcer had to count down the shot clock once it got to five seconds. Auxiliary clocks were brought to the baseline, but quickly removed after the clocks were reset. The Magic started the quarter on an 11-4 run during the first half of the quarter.


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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