The final buzzer couldn’t come soon enough for the Magic as they fought off a frantic fourth quarter comeback by the Pistons, winning 87-86.
The Magic got into foul trouble early. Moe Harkless picked up three fouls in the first three minutes. Detroit went 10-12 from the line in the first period and big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe dominated inside with Nik Vucevic sitting out, giving the Pistons a 27-19 lead after the first quarter.
Moe Harkless led the Magic in the second period, attacking the basket and scoring a team high 7 points in the quarter. The Pistons went scoreless for 6 minutes, allowing the Magic to take a 43-36 advantage at half.
Detroit’s cold shooting continued in the third, while Orlando got red hot. The Magic took a 68-45 lead with 1:51 in the third. Furious with his team’s effort, Piston’s coach Mo Cheeks took a timeout and really laid into his guys.
It seemed to be what his team needed, as Detroit climbed all the way back and eventually took a one-point lead with 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Granted, Detroit played most of their starters in the fourth while the Magic lineup consisted mostly of non-roster guys. Romero Osby found Kyle O’Quinn underneath the basket for a layup with 38 seconds left, which turned out to be the game winning basket.
Victor Oladipo (PG)
Arron Afflalo (SG)
Maurice Harkless (SF)
Solomon Jones (PF)
Kyle O’Quinn (C)
K. O’Quinn (40:02), E. Moore (30:36), S. Jones (26:10), V. Oladipo (25:22), R. Price (21:46), M. Harkless (21:01), R. Osby (20:23), A. Nicholson (18:44), T. Harris (15:41), M. Gladness (7:22), A. Afflalo (6:29), M. Harris (6:24)
G. Davis – DNP
K. Joseph – DNP
D. Lamb – DNP
J. Maxiell – DNP
J. Nelson – DNP
N. Vucevic – DNP
Coming into the game, both the Magic and Pistons were averaging 20 turnovers a game during the preseason, and both sides surpassed that mark Sunday night. The Magic finished with 22 turnovers on the night while the Pistons committed 25 turnovers. The sloppy play is largely a by-product of young point guards getting a lot of minutes while still assimilating with the pace of the NBA.
In the same vein, Pistons second-round pick Peyton Siva was the only active PG on the roster, forcing him to play 47 minutes. In what was basically a throw-him-to-the-wolves learning experience, Siva was predictably sloppy (9 turnovers) but did put up 7 assists.
Vicor Oladipo struggled with his shot, but he did have 7 assists to just 5 turnovers. He also had a +/- of +21 which is by far his best mark of the preseason.
Kyle O’Quinn is the only non-roster invite who doesn’t have a guaranteed contract going into the regular season, but he’s a virtual lock to make the team after his play the last couple of games.
Tobias Harris appeared to tweak his left ankle toward the end of the third quarter and didn’t return. He walked off on his own power, albeit with a limp. The injury isn’t expected to be serious, but he may sit out the last two preseason games.
Mickell Gladness and Manny Harris were always long shots to make the Magic roster and now their dwindling playing time is an indication that they are probably going to have to find a home in the NBA with another organization.