Not eight, not nine, but ten lead changes occurred in a neck-to-neck summer league game where Orlando (1-1) couldn't contain their composure going up against a lengthy Detroit Pistons (2-0) team at the near end of the fourth quarter, 74-79.
Both rookie power forwards Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn scored in double digits; 13 points and 11 points, respectively, but their contributions weren’t enough to give them a 2-0 edge for their summer league record.
Nicholson demanded the ball in the post and didn’t appear to get his way offensively. He shot five of 11 from the field in this game whereas his last game he made eight of 16.
Sophomore small forward Justin Harper had a quiet first half and displayed a poor shooting night compared to his last one against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. Harper shot two of 14 from the field and could not knock down a single of his seven three-point attempts. Apart from that, Harper did collect a team-high seven rebounds.
At the end of the first half, the Magic barely held on the ropes with a one-point lead even after the lead changed seven times.
Detroit picked up the pace and coolly opened up a 10-3 run within the first three minutes of the third quarter where third-year small forward Austin Daye swiftly contributed eight of his game-high 24 points during that run.
Not one Magic player could guard third-year small forward Austin Daye’s red-hot shooting. He shot efficiently making eight of 10 from the field. Daye also knocked in all three of his attempts from long range and went five for five from the free-throw line.
While the Magic were down 10 points around the 6:30 mark in the third quarter, they dug themselves out of their deficit and led by as much as five points. But the lead diminished once the fourth quarter begun.
Detroit unfolded an 11-2 run during the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Orlando was held scoreless for that three-minute stretch when the Pistons went on their run, until sophomore swingman DeAndre Liggins was fouled and made a pair from the free-throw line with 4:42 left on the clock.
Orlando’s momentum swung once the fourth quarter approached a near end. There wasn’t enough time for the Magic to build a sustainable run though where they shaved their deficit by as much as three points with 12.7 seconds left.
First-year forward Kyle Singler who played overseas in Spain last season with Lucentum Alicante and Real Madrid locked the game away when he was fouled and made both of his free throws to hand the Magic their first loss.
The Magic will play their next game facing the Utah Jazz at 5 PM on Wednesday.