The second game of a two-game mini-series between the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic really wasn’t much of a battle after halftime. Detroit flew out of the second half gate fast and never looked back, notching their ninth victory of the season, 105-93.
The Pistons led the Magic 34-24 through the first quarter via crisp cutting, passing (10 assists) and limited miscues (two turnovers). They were paced by Saddiq Bey’s eight points and two steals. Dennis Smith Jr., again getting the starting point guard nod for the injured Delon Wright, scored seven on four shots. A Saben Lee and Frank Jackson backcourt closed out the quarter and didn’t miss a beat.
The first third of the second quarter saw a quick surge by Orlando, led by the dangerously potent shooting of Terrence Ross (10 points for the half). Though the Pistons pushed the lead back to 10 by mid point, as Lee and Josh Jackson led the way. Saben connected on is first triple of his NBA career in addition to wreaking havoc in the paint and scoring every which way imaginable. But no monster dunks yet.
Orlando won the final six minutes of the half with their defense and three-point shooting — they shot 9-for-18 from deep for the half. Detroit committed six turnovers in the quarter and went dry from downtown. Detroit led 53-51 at the break and Lee led the team with 13 points. Just exactly how we drew it up.
Detroit controlled the third quarter, slowly but surely bludgeoning the Magic 26-14. Jerami Grant got his mojo going a bit with a couple of sweet lefty makes swooping towards the hoop. All-Star Nikola Vucevic had his own flurry in the quarter, but help was sparse.
Detroit kept up the intensity in the fourth quarter, despite a small Magic burst at the end. Josh Jackson was extra-hyper and Saben Lee hit two more three-pointers (3-for-3 for the game).
Saben led all scorers in the game with 21 points in 29 minutes. Josh Jackson scored 18 and made multiple winning defensive plays.
Vucevic struggled most of the game on just 9-for-22 shooting. Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross didn’t play particularly strong either.
Svi Mykhailiuk — in his first start of the season — was on a mission to get to the basket, and while he had mixed results, his aggressiveness was a welcome sight. Svi made a couple strong finishes and nearly had a few others.
Isaiah Stewart was much better overall in the second half of this one. Stewart had the dropsies in the first half and had a mixed defensive showing. Stewart displayed some range on a righty hook shot in the fourth. He contested pretty well at the rim, especially in the 2nd half.
Sekou Doumbouya is not playing with a lot of confidence. He played a decent first game against Orlando on Sunday, but dropped off some tonight. Sekou had a nice moment with good instincts with a steal and a flush in the fourth.
Detroit lived in the paint tonight. Whereas Orlando was forced into many contested jump shots, and certainly missed many of their open opportunities, too.
In the preseason, I wrote in Saben Lee’s player preview that he reminded me of Ish Smith and that he was “herky-jerky.” Well, it’s happening, folks!
Mason Plumlee wasn’t great, but did a better job (as did the team) on Vucevic than in game number one.
Jerami had a quiet but very effective game tonight — excellent floor game with six assists. He picked his spots smartly.