There was finally some good news on the injury front for the Magic: Jonathan Isaac made his long-awaited return.
For a while, it seemed that would be the only good news on this day for the short-handed Magic. But a late Magic run, and Mario Hezonja scoring a career-high 28 points, at least made things interesting before the Pistons pulled away for a 114-110 win.
The Magic were once again without leading scorer Aaron Gordon, who missed the game with a sprained calf and proved that the team is most certainly under some kind of voodoo doll spell.
The Magic started a two-point guard set that included Elfrid Payton and Shelvin Mack, which was the 12th different starting lineup the team has used his season, more than every team but Brooklyn.
Former Magic forward Tobias Harris opened the game with a quick three, which was foreshadowing at its finest as the Pistons would go on to drain 17 three-pointers, tying the franchise record. (Though the Magic would match them with 17 threes of their own)
The Pistons jumped out to an early 15-5 lead before the Magic, behind Hezonja's 11 first quarter points, evened the score at 22. The Pistons, who shot 7 of 11 from three in the first, responded with a 14-1 run that gave them a 36-23 lead after the first. The Magic would not get within single digits again until midway through the fourth.
The Pistons' lead swelled to 24 points in the fourth quarter after Anthony Tolliver drained the Pistons' final three of the game.
Hezonja answered with a three of his own, eclipsing both his season-high of 19 points and career-high of 21 points in the process, to make it 105-84 with 6:35 remaining.
New career high for Mario Hezonja, who currently has 22 points. pic.twitter.com/OZekFSF9V9— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 17, 2017
The Hezonja three ignited a 19-0 Magic run, which was capped by a three by D.J. Augustin and runner in transition by Jonathon Simmons that pulled Orlando within 105-100 with 2:40 to go.
With Vucevic being double-teamed, he kicked it out to Hezonja, who had an open look at a three that would have cut the lead to two, but couldn't convert. From there, the Pistons pulled away.
Hezonja finished with 28 points, hitting 8 of 12 attempts from long range and shooting 10-for-18 overall in 31 minutes.
The Magic connected on 17 of 33 three-point attempts overall (51.5 percent).
Isaac, playing under a minutes restriction, checked in with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter. Rusty on the offensive end, he finished the game 0-for-4 for one point and two rebounds in 17 minutes. He was very active on the defensive end, using his length to alter shots and clog passing lanes, and provided the versatile defender the Magic had been lacking in his absence.
Vucevic had 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Simmons added 23 points, though he missed some point blank looks throughout.
Harris scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half. Reggie Bullock led Detroit with 20 points. Andre Drummond was held in check with 12 points and six rebounds.
The Magic, who dropped their fifth straight game, next travel to Chicago to face the Bulls on Wednesday.