Both teams came into this game a bit wounded, but the Magic were more wounded without Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. The Pistons had Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose back so there wouldn’t be any excuses for playing poorly.
The Pistons got out to a decent start in this one, but as has been the story of the whole season, turnovers took over. Orlando got out to a 31-23 lead after the first quarter due to a 11-0 run that was sparked by Pistons turnovers.
Things got a little bit better for the Pistons in the second quarter as Markieff Morris sparked a run and Christian Wood was able to keep it going with yet another strong quarter in limited minutes. One of these days Dwane Casey will realize that playing Thon Maker is a complete waste of time and all of his minutes should go to Christian Wood, but we are not at that point yet. Wood had 10 points in nine second-quarter minutes and his energy was infectious.
Every time it looked like Orlando might pull away in the second quarter, the Pistons responded with a run of their own and were able to make it a 55-53 game going into halftime.
Bruce Brown had a couple of bad turnovers early in the third quarter, but he was attacking the basket well and kept the Pistons in the game when things got a bit ugly for both teams during the middle part of the quarter. The two teams went back-and-forth without much scoring for a few minutes.
The Pistons started to pull away in the third when they caught fire from 3-point range as Orlando cooled off. They were able to build an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 78-70. The lead could have been a bit more if the Pistons didn’t miss a couple of open threes in the closing minutes of the quarter.
Svi Mykhailiuk caught fire in the fourth and helped the Pistons keep their foot on the gas. His defense was also pretty solid as well. He seems to be getting more comfortable each game and should be more of a consistent fixture in the rotation the rest of the season.
The Pistons didn’t do much offensively to win this game down the stretch, but they played pretty good defense and Orlando went cold so they were able to hold on for the 103-88 win.
Luke Kennard led the Pistons with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Svi and Christian Wood both had 12 points off the bench to overcome a bad game by Derrick Rose off the bench.
The Pistons needed this win as they are in an easier part of their schedule over the next five games. Orlando was missing their two best players so a loss would have been inexcusable.
The Pistons will head to Charlotte on the day before Thanksgiving to take on the Charlotte Hornets.