'White-hot' Saddiq Bey scores 51 points in Pistons' victory, ties franchise record with 10 3-pointers
Orlando — Saddiq Bey was in a zone. In the first half against the Orlando Magic, everything he shot seemed to be going in.
In the first half, Bey already had a career night, with 30 points, including six 3-pointers. The only question was whether he’d get to 50 or 60 points with a similar second half.
Bey finished with a career-best 51 points and tied the franchise record with 10 3-pointers, lifting the Pistons to a 134-120 victory on Thursday night at Amway Center.
The 51 points tied for fifth-most in franchise history; the Pistons' record is 57 points by Jerry Stackhouse in 2001.
“He was white-hot, so it was great to see him have a night like that. It’s something that he’ll always remember as an NBA player,” coach Dwane Casey said. “To have an individual performance like Saddiq had is unbelievable. It’s great for the young man, a second-year player; it’s beautiful to see.”
Bey had a virtuoso performance, with an efficient 17-of-27 from the field and 10-of-14 from beyond the arc, along with 7-of-10 on free throws. He added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in 39 minutes.
The final three minutes had some suspense, with Bey stuck on 44 points and the Pistons (19-51) holding a double-digit lead. It looked like he’d have to settle for just a really good game instead of a great one.
Bey hit a jumper at the 2:39 mark of the fourth quarter to get to 46 and added a step-back 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining to get to 49. In the final minute, Bey had a chance to crack 50, but his shot was blocked.
On the Pistons’ final possession of the game, Bey got the ball and the Magic fouled him, sending him to the free-throw line for two chances to surpass 50 points. He made both free throws, and even the Magic fans serenaded Bey.
“I walked to the free-throw line and said that I had to make at least one of these,” Bey said. “I was in such a rhythm and I was just happy I got there. I was more nervous to see whether I’d get to the line, but I knew once I got there, I’d at least have a chance to make one.”
Marvin Bagley III added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Isaiah Stewart 16 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, who were without leading scorer Jerami Grant (knee inflammation) and Cade Cunningham (non-COVID illness).
Bey had the stage for the only game on the NBA slate, which also featured two of the worst records in the league, with the Magic falling to 17-52.
Though he was on his game, Bey didn’t seem to get outside of himself or the game plan in reaching the 50-point milestone, the first for the Pistons since Blake Griffin’s in 2018-19.
“I think it was the flow of the game. I didn’t come into the game saying (I would get 50),” Bey said. “When you catch a rhythm and you’re in the zone, you still want to win the game. My teammates did a great job of finding me and encouraging me to still be aggressive.”
The Pistons had a 106-94 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and they stretched the margin to 113-96 with 10:10 remaining on a 3-pointer by Kelly Olynyk, but the Magic charged behind brother Franz and Moritz Wagner (Michigan).
As he was heating up in the first half, Bey was still looking for his teammates, not getting outside his game to try to reach the special scoring mark.
“That's good karma, when you know you can get the shot and you're still trying to get everybody involved," Stewart said.
The Magic gave up 60 points to the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving this week, and Bey followed up with another memorable mark.
"It's something that you see coming, and think, 'Why not?' Whether we won or lost tonight, at least we had a very productive night for the young man," Casey said. "That's going to give him a little jolt of confidence that you won't believe going forward, whether it's the rest of this year, going into the summer or going into next year.
"You can't pay for those types of moments for a young man."