The Orlando Magic thoroughly pummeled the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
It was mostly bad, but not all bad.
After all, potential future Pistons star Victor Wembanyama did this earlier in the day:
Putback dunk off his own stepback 3 https://t.co/ARkuLYGsAI pic.twitter.com/fXgjzrIAmO— NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2023
That’s about the only highlight I can provide... because the Pistons 128-102 loss in Orlando was the kind of game that never felt close. Sure, Detroit rallied back after falling behind by double-digits early to make it close late in the first quarter — but it was a mirage.
The Magic pumped the lead to 15, then 20 points, in the second quarter and never looked back. Detroit seemingly sleepwalked through most of this one, looking just as out of sorts offensively as they did on defense.
If not for a bad night at the free throw line, the Magic would have won by even more as they finished shooting 57% from the field and 51% from three.
The real bummer is the Pistons young guys were non-factors while the Magics’ flourished.
Paolo Banchero outplayed fellow rookie Jaden Ivey, scoring 14 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Ivey started strong with 5 points and 4 assists in the first quarter, but did nothing the rest of the game, finishing with a quiet 14 points and 6 assists.
But, I mean, name a good Magic player and they probably did something.
Hell, even the bad ones played well against Detroit. Jalen Suggs dominated in the second quarter and finished with 18 points and 4 steals and Goga Bitadze, who had some of his best games as a Pacer against the Pistons, scored 13 off the bench.
I’m convinced Bitadze only looks like an NBA player when he plays Detroit. He got in a little dust up with Jalen Duren in the second half, then promptly fouled out after chirping Duren and the bench on the next play.
I’d say I can’t wait to see Duren dominate Bitadze next season, but I’m not sure Bitadze will even be in the NBA next season.
What a weirdly memorable thing about this season — Detroit getting into it with backup centers on the Orlando Magic, first Killian Hayes and Mo Wagner, and now this.
Anyways, Duren had a quiet 7 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Despite Marvin Bagley leaving the game early with a neck injury, Duren’s minutes were once again limited.
I’ve heard people say the Pistons “know what they have” with Duren and that’s why he isn’t getting big minutes. I disagree with that premise — because they most certainly can learn more about their teenage centerpiece down the stretch — but that’s one man’s opinion.
Killian actually had a quietly strong game. He was aggressive and looking for his shot all night, and those mid-range jumpers were falling, as he finished with 20 points and 7 assists.
The other big game belonged to Eugene Omoruyi, who’s story has been a bright spot in an otherwise dark second half of the season. I think his actual performance was worse than his numbers, but he added 19 points off the bench.
However, he missed 11 of his 17 shots and shot just 3 of 11 from downtown.
We’ve reached the Omoruyi Leads Detroit in Shots portion of the season.
As the headline said, the Pistons are now losers in 20 of their past 21 games, which ties them with the 1993-94 team — which our Sean Corp dove deep on earlier this week.
It’s hard to say a team in the NBA can’t win a game, but I’m not sure this team is winning until the 2023-24 season. Three of their final four games will come against Miami, Brooklyn and Chicago, and all three of those teams are fighting like hell for the playoff positioning.
Indiana is sandwiched between Brooklyn and Chicago on Friday and that game might be winnable... if the Pacers mail it in like they did back on March 13 when the Pistons last won.
The Spurs won tonight, meaning they are now four games up on Detroit with four to play, while Houston remains just three up but owns the tiebreaker over the Pistons. I’m pretty confident in saying Detroit has the No. 1 lottery spot locked up.
I guess that’s a positive, too. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments.