Magic Go Cold Down the Stretch in Loss to Pistons

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

The Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons might be best known for their pool of talented first and second-year players, but on Saturday night in the Motor City, it was the veterans on each side that shined brightest. That includes Gary Harris, who erupted for 28 points, his best mark in a Magic uniform. Orlando, however, missed their final four floor shots in a 97-92 loss.

Clutch Moments

The biggest shot of the night came with 42.4 seconds left when Hamidou Diallo, the 23-year-old forward out of the University of Kentucky, slammed home a dunk that put Detroit up three. Cory Joseph knocked down two game-sealing free throws in the final second after missed shots from Orlando’s Terrence Ross and Cole Anthony and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham.

Top Performers

Oct. 21, 2018 was the last time Harris scored at least 28 points. He was a Denver Nugget then, and the opponent was the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. Although he struggled with his shot, making just 5 of his 18 attempts from the field, Anthony filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Quote of the Night

“Personally, I thought they were going to foul me, so I kind of played some mind games…Honestly, I could have gotten a better look, so bad shot…What we did those first couple quarters, like what I did too and as a team, we should have stuck with that. I probably took as many bad shots as I’ve taken since my rookie year, so I’m going to learn from it and we have another game tomorrow, so I’ll be better tomorrow.” – Anthony on his potential game-tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds and his shot selection throughout the game

Injury/Health Report

Wendell Carter Jr. (hamstring), Robin Lopez (health and safety protocols), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Markelle Fultz (left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain), and Jalen Suggs (fractured right thumb) were out for Orlando. Frank Jackson (health and safety protocols), Jerami Grant (thumb), and Kelly Olynyk (knee) were unavailable for Detroit.

This Day in History

This wasn’t the first time the Magic were in Detroit on a Jan. 8. The Magic blew out the Pistons on Jan. 8, 1995 behind 26 points from Penny Hardaway and 23 points and 11 rebounds from Shaquille O’Neal. Joe Dumars led the Pistons with 19 points and 11 assists.

Rivals Report

Like the Magic, the Pistons are building for the future. Also like their foes from Central Florida, they have several promising young players, including Cunningham, who is averaging 15.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Saddiq Bey and Diallo are two others thriving. Diallo, now in his fourth NBA season, had a stretch over a week ago in which he scored 28-plus in three straight contests, including against the Spurs on New Year’s Day when he erupted for 34 points.

Up Next

The Washington Wizards will visit Amway Center for the second and final time this season on Sunday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. This is the first of two consecutive games the Magic have against the Wizards, with the other taking place in the nation’s capital on Wednesday. After a scorching start to the season, with 10 victories in their first 13 games, the Wizards have been in a slump lately, losing nine of their last 13 contests. Bradley Beal has an active streak of eight straight 25-plus-point performances.

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