The Detroit Pistons outscored the Orlando Magic 30-19 in the second quarter to seize control of the game and go into halftime up 14, and held that advantage for pretty much the rest of the game, winning 115-98. Wayne Ellington led the Pistons with 25 points, Blake Griffin had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, and Andre Drummond had 18 points, 18 rebounds, and six (!) blocks. Aaron Gordon led the way for the Magic with 20 points, and Orlando’s weather vane, Terrence Ross, was limited to 10 points on 3-11 shooting.
First things first: Andre was dominant tonight from the jump. As soon as he blocked that dunk attempt by Aaron Gordon, it was apparent he was locked in and the Pistons were in good hands. Shutting down the paint, cutting off drives, hedging and recovering to All-Star center Nikola Vucevic (5-15, 12 points) to force him into tough shots... Dre was on FIRE tonight.
I've seen the majority of Andre Drummond's career, and I can't recall him ever playing a better defensive game. 6 blocks, covering everything. His awareness is amazing tonight— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) March 29, 2019
As Andre held down the defensive end of the floor, Wayne Ellington lit up the Magic from the outside. Spurred by all six-foot-nothing of D.J. Augustin staring him down after a block Wayne felt should’ve been a foul, Wayne got his revenge in the best way: Torching the Magic from the perimeter.
Sure, Orlando was playing their third game in four nights, coming off two emotional victories over the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, and just didn’t have it tonight. That’s totally acceptable for the Magic, and Pistons fans know all too well how the schedule and fatigue can affect the quality of a team’s play. However, the Pistons needed this win, treated this game with the level of seriousness it deserved, and slammed the door on Orlando. There was an undercurrent of trepidation within the Pistons fanbase after the road trip - this win should calm those waters.
Combined with the Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, this win elevates Detroit back into sixth place, a half-game up on Brooklyn and a full game up on Orlando. The win also secures Detroit the season series tiebreaker over the Magic, should it come to that in the fight for seeding in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons play the suddenly depleted Portland Trail Blazers Saturday.