ORLANDO – Maybe they should have announced the big news after the game. The Orlando Magic, coming into last night’s game with a 4 game wining streak, were run over by the Detroit Pistons 105-93 at The Amway Center in Orlando, FL.
During the introductions of the teams, it was announced that Orlando center Nikola Vucevic was selected as an NBA All-star reserve, and the crowd went wild in celebration.
Then the game started.
The Pistons came out with a lot of energy, attacking the Magic interior, scrapping for balls, crisp passing. At one point in the match, the Pistons lead the Magic by as much as 20 points.
As for Orlando, sloppy play, with 12 turnovers leading to 20 Pistons points, 37.5% shooting and the starters shot a combined 19-52 with a lack of energy. You couldn’t tell if the Magic were tired, or just riding on the glory of the win over the Pistons on Sunday.
“I told the guys this morning, this happened earlier this year, they had not sense of urgency. very little attention to detail. My experience is that you’re going to play the game that you prepare to play” said Magic head coach Steve Clifford. “They play hard, and we knew that. They took it to us right from the start. They put more into the game than we did and we’re not that team. If we have everybody ready, we’re good enough to beat any team, but if we have less than that, it ‘s hard.”
As Clifford mentioned, Orlando battled from behind from the start. the game opened to a 4-4 tie, then the Pistons went on a 10-0 run. They kept bodies on Vucevic, making sure if he got the ball, there were multiple men in his face.
Vucevic did manage to score 20 points with 9 rebounds, Evan Fournier had 14 points, and Terrance Ross put in 13 points off of the bench.
Detroit definitely targeted the Magic defense in the paint, constantly driving in for scores. with 56 points on 48 chances. Outside of Tuesday’s match, the Magic ranked #2 in the league for most of February.
Rookie Chuma Okeke came in and provided his usual solid, workmanlike play with 20 minutes, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 points.
Clifford did mention that the players all over the NBA are really tired. The schedule is brutal, and thought it reduces travel and the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus, you can see the wear and tear on teams in injuries, nlet also the play.
The Magic head up to Brooklyn to face the high flying Nets at Barclay’s Arena on Thursday, then back to The Amway Center to face the league leading Utah Jazz.