Well, where do y’all want to begin?
Let’s start with the fracas at the end of the first half:
The end result: Killian Hayes ejected, Hamidou Diallo ejected, and Mo Wagner ejected.
So, let’s dissect.
Mo Wagner lived up to his reputation of being a below-average player with superstar-levels of sh*t talking tonight. He yapped at a number of Pistons on a number of occasions and his shove of Hayes was par for the course — he deserved the ejection he received.
Wagner got two Pistons kicked out, which was the same amount of shots he made. What a player.
Diallo probably didn’t deserve to be ejected, but you could also point to him flying in to shove Wagner, while maybe warranted, as the moment that escalated this from a dirty play to wayyyyyy bigger of a deal.
Killian was the victim of a dirty play, but his response was wrong. He took a swing at Wagner and got ejected because of it. Odds are he’ll miss time beyond the second half he watched from the locker room tonight.
I’m not sure if we’ll see any post-game discipline for the Pistons players on the bench. They didn’t seem to do much outside of de-escalate things. The Magic, however, are about the be up the creek without a paddle as at least four players left their bench.
I couldn’t help but think of this iconic moment in NBA history:
Anyway, how about that game!
Though Detroit fell behind 9-0 to start the game — giving us all that oh-god-not-another-loss feeling — they were pretty great the rest of the way.
And the best part? They led big and DIDN’T blow it this time.
The starters were relatively quiet, though Jalen Duren was a monster on the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds to go with 7 points. Bojan Bogdanovic was fine, Jaden Ivey shot the ball poorly (1/7) but did have seven rebounds and four assists.
But it was the bench that starred.
They combined for 42 points in the first half, coming five points shy of the Magic’s team total, as Alec Burks, Saddiq Bey and Diallo played got whatever they wanted all night.
Bey, who is shooting over 40% from 3 this month, hit four of his six triples in the first half to finish with 28 points against the team he dropped 51 points against last year. It looks like Bey has shaken off all of that early-season slump.
Burks was once again as smooth a scorer as you could ask for off the bench. He scores quietly, but effectively, and did so tonight with an array of threes, pull ups and free throws en route to a game-high 32 points.
He made 10 of his 11 shots and it’s too bad he plays for a team as bad as the Pistons, he’d be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate otherwise.
Diallo was his normal self, but his constant movement led to easy dunks instead of contested short shots. Thanks, Orlando defense. He had 11 points and five rebounds in his first half run, doing a great job of making life tough on Paolo Banchero.
Speaking of, the Pistons did a hell of a job on the likely Rookie of the Year. After making him look like an All-NBA player on opening night, they really did a good job tonight in holding him to 15 points on 4/12 shooting.
After holding Orlando to 101 points tonight, the Pistons snapped a nasty streak of allowing nine-straight teams to top 110 points per game. The defense wasn’t perfect, but it was a big improvement on what they’ve been doing recently.
That alone is worth celebrating on a night where a number of guys played really well.
As always, let us know what you thought in the comments.