Winners of four of five, the Orlando Magic looked to continue their strong play at home against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Despite having a lead late in the fourth, the Magic were unable to win another one, falling to the Pistons 108-104.
The Magic got off to a slow start, falling behind the Pistons by as many as nine in the early portions of the quarter, forcing a timeout from coach Scott Skiles. After the timeout, and a pair of substitutions, the Magic began to settle down, climbing their way back into the game quickly thanks to a flurry of buckets from Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. Neither team shot the ball exceptionally well, going 20-of-54 combined, while combining for 16 offensive rebounds (eight a piece) in the opening 12 minutes. After one, Detroit held a small four point lead, up 25-21.
After falling behind yet again early in the second, the Magic began to show some signs of life again, once again cutting into the Pistons lead. After a poor shooting opening quarter, the Magic began finding the bottom of the net, thanks in large part to Andrew Nicholson knocking down four of his five shots, including a pair of three-pointers. Bot teams played a sloppy quarter, turning it over eight combined times, At the half, the suddenly surging Magic found themselves with their biggest lead of the game, up 51-44 .
Out of halftime, the Magic once again came out with no energy, struggling on both ends early in the quarter. As they did in the first half, the Magic settled down, keeping the Pistons within striking distance, With his team needing a jolt, Elfrid Pyaton gave it to the Magic, attacking the bucket, and getting some easy shots for himself and teammates. After three, thanks to another strong finish to a quarter, the Magic found themselves up four, 77-73.
With the lead heading into the fourth, the Magic started the fourth quarter better than any other quarter on the night, holding onto their lead until late in the quarter. Every time the Pistons made even a small run, the Magic were able to answer and push their lead back out to a possession or two. After a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope transition three-pointer, however, things began to fall apart for the Magic. The Pistons scored on their next two trips, taking a five point lead the Magic would not be able to overcome, despite having a chance to tie the game with under 10 seconds remaining.
Reggie Jackson led all scorers, finishing with 24 on the night. Caldwell-Pope added 18 for the visitors. Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond and Reggie Bullock all scored 13 for the Pistons.
Evan Fournier led the way for the Magic, finishing with 19. Payton added 17 on the night, with Victor Oladipo finishing the night with 16. Nikola Vucevic had a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double, while Nicholson finished with 14 points off the bench.