Over their prior four games, two at home and two on the road, the Orlando Magic were in each game competing for a victory. Despite the fact all were losses, some positive aspects could be found in each game.
That was not the case on Wednesday as the Magic fell behind by 18 points in the first quarter and went on to a 118-102 drubbing at the hand of the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The appropriate metaphor would go something like “the Pistons were clicking on all cylinders.” In this case, it is an accurate description. Just nine minutes into the game, Detroit had a 30-12 lead, but the Magic trimmed the margin to 32-21 at the end of the period.
Orlando tried to hang around and actually trimmed the lead to 55-51 on two Victor Oladipo free throws with 3:01 left in the half. Detroit led 66-57 after two periods.
An Evan Fournier three-pointer with 7:22 left in the third period brought the Magic to within 74-71. The Pistons then closed the period in strong fashion to take a 96-87 lead into the fourth quarter.
Detroit scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to take a 17-point lead. The Magic struggled to score down the stretch.
Andrew Nicholson’s three-pointer made it 114-102 with 3:55 left. Orlando did not score again.
Elfrid Payton had a triple double off the bench with 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Aaron Gordon had 15 points, while Oladipo and Fournier had 14.
Seven of the nine Pistons who saw action scored in double figures, led by Andre Drummond with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Tobias Harris re-acquainted himself with his former Magic teammates with 18 points.
Orlando shot 39.8 percent from the field while Detroit 43 of 80 shots for 53.8 percent, including 11 of 24 from three point range.
The loss was Orlando’s fifth straight and left them with a 29-42 record. The Magic are in Miami on Friday night to face the Heat.