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Magic Lack Continuity in Loss to Pistons

The struggles from game one came to rear their ugly heads once again, as the Magic were out of this one by halftime

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic lost to the Detriot Pistons 108-82 at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night, their second straight loss to open up the 2016-17 NBA season. The Magic led only once – it was for a single point midway through the first quarter. There were communication issues on both sides of the ball, as Orlando sleepwalked through the final three periods.

"Right now we look like a team that still has their name tags on," said assistant coach Chad Forcier at halftime, "like we're still trying to get to know each other, where people are going, what we're supposed to do, and it really showed in the second quarter."

In that pivotal second quarter, the Magic were outscored 9-30 thanks to two former Magic men who are now with the Pistons – Ish Smith and Tobias Harris. Harris would finish with 18 points, and Smith wasn't too far behind him at 16 points, as well as 8 assists.

Detroit played unselfish basketball, wracking up 26 assists on 50 percent shooting. Orlando, meanwhile, hung around the mid-30s in field goal percentage all night, finishing at 34 percent. The Pistons were more accurate from beyond the arc, at 36 percent, than the Magic were overall.

Though not as gaudy as Miami's total from opening night, the Pistons still dominated the Magic with 60 points in the paint. In another parallel from Wednesday, Detroit center Andre Drummond owned the boards to the tune of a game-high 20 rebounds. Again, Nikola Vucevic performed well enough with seven points and 14 boards, but got very little help from his frontcourt teammates. Orlando bigs Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo combined for six points and six rebounds. Ibaka finished with a game-worst minus 25 in the plus/minus category, narrowly beating out Biyombo's minus 23.

The Magic made a small comeback in the fourth quarter, where they outscored the Pistons 31-22. This was not enough to close the deficit, however, but it did bring the game inside of 30 points.

Among the Positives for Orlando would be the growth of young forward Aaron Gordon, who posted a line of 17 points, 7 rebounds, and two steals. His shot looked more polished, as he hit an even 8-of-16 from the floor including one three-pointer.

Magic point guard Elfrid Payton also continued his strong play this season with 16 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Magic will take on the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow, as they travel to Quicken Loans Arena for day two of their back-to-back. The Magic have struggled recently against the Cavs, going winless since the return of Cleveland's LeBron James before the 2014-15 season.