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Pistons give up 39 points in first quarter, fall 119-103 to last place Magic

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo logo MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 1/29/2022 Lauren Williams, mlive.com

The Detroit Pistons looked to snap a three-game losing streak but the Orlando Magic had other plans. In a battle between the NBA’s worst two teams, the No. 30 ranked Magic picked up their fifth home win to down the Pistons 119-103.

Detroit (11-37) fell behind quickly and looked out of sorts with Orlando (10-40) opening the game on a 20-8 run. Former Michigan Wolverine Franz Wagner played a key role in that making five of his first seven shots o the night in eight minutes. Then, former Michigan State Spartan Gary Harris knocked down a three and got to the basket for a layup to get the Magic into an early rhythm.

Wagner scored 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the field and made two of his three triple attempts. He was perfect at the line on 8-of-8 shooting. Despite the hot start from Harris, he ended the night with 10 points but the Magic had plenty of jolts from Terrence Ross (21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor), Mo Bamba (8-of-10 shooting) and Chuma Okeke (6-of-7 field goal, 3-of-4 from three).

By the end of the first, the Magic stretched their lead to 21 points to cap off a frustrating start to the night for the Pistons’ starting five. The Pistons starters scored just 11 points, with rookie Cade Cunningham going 0-of-7 in his first nine minutes.

Cunningham wouldn’t make his first bucket until the final five minutes of the third quarter. It was a tough night for the first-year guard, who followed up his career night, with eight points, two rebounds and four assists on 3-of-17 shooting from the field.

As the Pistons tried to come back from allowing the Magic to score39 points in the first, they had a big boost from their bench with Rodney McGruder and Trey Lyles scoring 10 points in the first half to help cut the Magic’s 20-point lead to single digits. Lyles scored seven points on a pair of layups and three trips to line. McGruder went 2-of-3 from the floor, which included a basket from deep. He made all four of his attempts at the line.

But it wasn’t the Pistons’ night. Orlando stretched the lead to 16 points by the end of the half. The Pistons’ starters seemed to find their footing allowing the Magic to outscore them by just one point in the third quarter. They pulled the game within eight points, the second time

But the Magic’s damage was already done.

Detroit struggled to pull itself out of the hole that they fell into after the third quarter but their cold offense didn’t help their cause. The Pistons shot 36.8 percent from the floor and made 10 of their 29 shot attempts from distance. They also shot just 78.4 percent from the free-throw line, which slowed their chances to get back into the game.

By comparison, the Magic made near 50 percent of their shot and made 12 of their 25 shot attempts from distance. While the Pistons looked to slow the Magic down, they ended up sending them to the line 26 times where they made all but one of them.

Now the Pistons will look to reset on Sunday when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers (6 p.m., Bally Sports Detroit) who have moved to third in the Eastern Conference.

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