To say the Pistons started off this game poorly would be an understatement. The Pistons missed a lot of easy layups early, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. They played poor defense, turned the ball over a lot, and kept missing shots. They only had 8 points through 7 minutes of the game and would trail Orlando 17-8 after a 15-2 run.
Things didn’t get any better the rest of the quarter as the Pistons were thoroughly dominated on both ends of the court. Franz Wagner dominated the battle of Rookie of the Year contenders with 13 points in the 1st quarter. Cade Cunningham struggled with no points on 0-6 shooting. The Pistons ended the quarter trailing 39-19 and it honestly could have been worse with how poorly they played.
The bench came in and jolted the Pistons to life in the 2nd quarter. Killian Hayes continues to look a lot more comfortable off the bench controlling the offense. Hayes had 7 off the bench and Trey Lyles and Rodney McGruder both had 10 points as Dwane Casey rode the bench for the first seven minutes of the quarter to get the deficit down to single digits.
However, that was short-lived as the starter came back in and continued their poor play from the first quarter. The Magic would get their lead back up to double digits as they led 67-51 heading into halftime.
Cade Cunningham didn’t score his first points until the 1:51 mark of the quarter and it came from the free throw line. He entered halftime with 2 points on 0-of-9 shooting. The Pistons went over 5 minutes in the quarter without a field goal to close out the half until a Cory Joseph jumper with a few seconds left.
Things got slightly better for the starter in the 3rd quarter. They would slowly chip down on the Magic lead and get it down to 10 points at one point in the quarter. It seemed like every time they made one step forward they would take two steps back. That became very clear when the bench came back in at the 5 minute mark of the quarter.
The bench couldn’t recapture the Magic they had in the 2nd quarter as the Magic would build the lead back to 92-75 at the end of the 3rd. Cade Cunningham finally made his first field goal after an 0-of-11 start. It was very reminiscent of his debut where he was getting open shots, they just weren’t falling.
The Pistons have pulled off some unexpected comebacks this season, but it was clear entering the 4th that this would not be one of those games.
The Magic made a couple of threes early in the quarter and that was all she wrote. The Magic would cruise to the blowout victory,
Trey Lyles would once again lead the Pistons in scoring with 18 points. Saddiq Bey led the starters with 17 points. Killian Hayes had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists as he continues to play better off the bench.
Franz Wagner led the Magic with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Terrance Ross sent a message to contending teams looking to add a scorer to their bench as he had 21 off the bench for the Magic.
The Pistons will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, who surprisingly sit at 3rd in the East.