Pistons rally from 22-point deficit but lose to Magic in overtime
Orlando, Fla. — After a big first-half deficit, the Pistons didn’t go out with a whimper.
Facing a 22-point lead in the second quarter, with the way the season has gone and in the midst of a three-game losing streak, the Pistons had a lot of reasons to let it go.
The Pistons cut the lead to four at halftime, pulled ahead early in the fourth quarter and held on until the end but fell, 116-112, in overtime to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at Amway Center, in the final game before the All-Star break.
Wood finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Thon Maker 18 points and Tony Snell 16 points and five assists for the Pistons (19-38), who don’t play again until Feb. 20 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
They’ll have a week to think about the one that got away.
“I’m encouraged by the way we fought back from a big deficit early and everybody who played tonight contributed in some way,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “Twenty-one turnovers is discouraging in an overtime game when you have that many opportunities to score. …
“If we ever get that fixed, that’s going to happen. We have to get that fixed to (help) the rebuild, because if we keep turning the ball over, we’ll never get off the ground.”
Langston Galloway (11 points) sent the game to overtime with a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining in regulation, after Magic center Nikola Vucevic (19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) hit one on the other end with 5.5 seconds left.
BOX SCORE: Magic 116, Pistons 112, OT
In overtime, Wood tied it at 112 with 1:26 left on a putback dunk but the Magic (24-31) scored the last four points, on a layin by Vucevic, and finishing with Evan Fournier (19 points) and Markelle Fultz (22 points, five rebounds and 10 assists) each splitting a pair of free throws.
The Pistons had a chance to tie in before the final free throws, but Galloway’s look didn’t fall.
“They made simple plays down the stretch and we tried to make too many things complicated, like passing into a crowd and playing in a crowd instead of kicking it out and recognizing switches,” Casey said.
After erasing the big deficit, the Pistons moved ahead, 96-89, with a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter. Svi Mykhailiuk made two free throws and added a 3-pointer, Reggie Jackson (12 points and 11 assists) added a 3-pointer and Markieff Morris — who had four 3-pointers — added another, before Maker’s runner in the lane with 6:29 remaining.
Galloway hit a 3-pointer at the 4:23 mark to push the lead back to 101-95 but Aaron Gordon (25 points and nine rebounds) scored eight straight Magic points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to tie it at 103. Fultz made two free throws for the lead but Wood tied it with a putback dunk before the teams traded 3-pointers in the final seconds of regulation.
“I’m disappointed that we lost, but we fought throughout the entire game being down 22 and fought all the way back,” Derrick Rose said. It showed some improvement throughout the game.”
►Rose and Mykhailiuk returned to the lineup after missing the last five games. Each struggled to find a shooting rhythm, with Rose going 1-of-13 and Mykhailiuk 2-of-6 from the field. They were on a minutes restriction and didn’t have huge offensive contributions but gave the Pistons other options with their depleted bench.
“In Derrick’s defense, he sat out many games and it’s tough,” Casey said. “We probably should have gone with Brandon (Knight) but he hadn’t played the whole night and Derrick has been in that situation so many times.”
►Sekou Doumbouya continues to struggle in getting back to the rhythm that got him on the league-wide radar. He’s been struggling mightily for the past couple of weeks but finished with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting. He did hit a 3-pointer but his drives to the rim were still lacking aggression and the Magic front line was able to get hands on them.
►Markieff Morris was perfect from the field, going 5-of-5, including four makes from 3-point range, until a miss late in the fourth quarter, giving them a boost in the frontcourt. Morris has been in and out because of lingering injuries but was solid, including a pair of 3-pointers midway through the second quarter.
►Bruce Brown didn’t make a big splash with his scoring, but he was big on the boards. He finished with two points and 10 rebounds, picking up some of the slack from Andre Drummond’s departure. He was regarded as a good rebounder in college at Miami and didn’t need to do much with Drummond around, but he’s showing he has that ability.