Coming off a tough loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, the Orlando Magic returned home to take on the Stan Van Gundy led Detroit Pistons on Friday night. Another night, and another second half collapse for the Magic, as the Pistons finished off the Magic, 111-97.
Kicking the game off, the Magic looked stout on the offensive end, while playing some tight defense on the other end. The Magic moved the ball at a high rate, dishing out assists on nine of their 13 made buckets en route to a blistering 61.9 percent shooting quarter. The hosts had periods where their defense looked strong, but as the quarter wore on, Detroit was able to slowly find holes in the Magic's defense for open shots. The Pistons hit four three pointers, rallying from an early seven point deficit to grab a three point lead heading into the second quarter. Anthony Tolliver and Nikola Vucevic led the way for their respective teams, each scoring eight points in the opening 12 minutes.
Down just three heading into the second, the Magic's bench unit came in and struggled. Detroit was able to continually attack the Magic's reserves, pushing their lead up to as many as eight. With their starters back in, the Magic began to settle back down, slowly whittling away at the lead before getting it down to one heading into halftime. Orlando's ball movement continued to be stout, pushing their assist total up to 17 on 24 made field goals, with their field goal percentage staying up at the 61.5 percentage mark. Tayshaun Prince scored 14 in the quarter to lead the Pistons, with Vucevic and Elfrid Payton leading the Magic with 10 each.
Out of the halftime break, things began to go downhill for the Magic. For the first time all night, their offense began to slightly stagnate, while also continuing to struggle with the Pistons on the defensive end. Behind strong play from Reggie Jackson, the visitors were able to push their lead up to as many as 15 points late in the quarter. Despite periods of stagnant play, the Magic were still able to push their assist total up to 25 through three quarters. The aforementioned Jackson did much of the damage for Detroit in the quarter, scoring 17 points to push his total to a game high 24 through three. Vucevic continued to lead the Magic, pushing his total up to a team high 16.
Down 11 heading into the fourth quarter, the opening was slowly getting narrower for the Magic. Detroit continued to pile it on the Magic, pushing their lead up to as many as 17. The Magic tried to rally, cutting the lead to 12, but were unable to get it any lower, with Detroit pushing it back up to 16 in the blink of an eye.
Jackson led a highly balanced Pistons attack, posing 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for another triple-double. The veteran Prince added 23 off the bench, with Andre Drummond finishing the night with 16 points and nine rebounds. Sharpshooter Jodie Meeks added 12 off the bench, while Tolliver scored 11. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounded out the group of Pistons in double figures, finishing with 10.
All five Magic starters finished in double figures, led by Tobias Harris' 21. Vucevic added 20 points and 14 rebounds for his 41st double-double of the season, with Elfrid Payton scoring 14 points and dishing out a career high 13 assists. Oladipo finished with 16, while Andrew Nicholson added 10 in a spot start.