Magic still struggling with brawl and 121-101 loss to Pistons

DETROIT, MI – The Orlando Magic are just out of synch. Their juju is way off.

On Wednesday night, the faced off against the Detroit Pistons and lost 121-101 and looked very much like the out of synch team that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers the night before.

Orlando, Florida, USA, December 5, 2022, Orlando Magic small Forward Franz Wagner #22 rushes forward with the ball in the first half at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

In a play early in the game, Moritz Wagner was chasing an errant pass that would have been called for an over and back penalty, when Detroit’s Killian Hayes crept up the sideline to try to grab it. Wagner hip checked Hayes into the Detroit bench.

Wagner’s momentum led him towards the bench when he was pushed in and stuck in the back of the head by Hayes and surrounded by Pistons players. 

A number of Magic players tried to pull Wagner from the bench, and unfortunately, the Magic bench emptied, meaning that a number of suspensions should be expected to come down from the league on Thursday.

The Magic players that could be facing suspension for leaving the bench are Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr, Gary Harris, Mo Bamba, R.J. Hampton, Terrence Ross and Admiral Schofield were the players out of the game as the Orlando bench emptied.

Wagner was ejected for a flagrant foul, while Detroit’s Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo were thrown out for their actions during the ensuing scuffle in front of the Pistons’ bench.

The Magic will have to deal with being short handed for their next game against the Washington Wizards on Friday at the Amway Center.

As mentioned earlier, the Magic’s play is very out of synch. The scoring is not there. The defense is non effective, even though they have the height advantage. Shot are not dropping anymore.

Opposing teams key their defense on rookie phenom Paolo Banchero and keep his scoring at bay. Banchero was held to 4 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, and managed 15 points against Detroit, coming off of weeks of 20+ scoring games.

Magic forward Franz Wagner led the teams scoring with 19 hard fought points win the game, many of which came late in the game. 

As in game past against the Magic, Detroits Alec Burks had a filed day against them, with 32 points and Saddiq Bey added another 28 points with 8 rebounds.

The key to the game was Detroit totally dominating in thee paint, outscoring Orlando 54-24 on the night.

With Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Harris working their way back into the rotation, the Magic are getting used to the changes, and thus are temporarily out of synch, similar to when Markelle Fultz and Mo Wagner returned to the squad.

When Carter was hurt, the Magic lost a key to their interior defense, but as Mo Wagner returned and also regained his playing strength, the Magic went on a 6-game winning streak.

The Magic are basically back to square one. They look lethargic and lacking energy, often a step too slow on three-point coverage and interior defense. They are trying to feel their way back to solid defense and winning basketball.

Opposing teams are attacking Bol Bol open the defensive end with the interior schemes as well s no longer allowing him to drive into the paint or shoot mid-range shots. Bol os no longer surprising other teams, and these defensive changes have made it difficult for the Magic to get shots to drop.

For the Magic, Franz Wagner scored 19, Carter Jr scored 16 off of the bench and Paolo dropped 15 points. Carter Jr also lead the Magic with 8 rebounds and Markelle Fultz had 9 assists, even thought he scored only 6 points.

As they work to get there rhythm back, we will brace for what will come down from the league in the coming days as a result of the scuffle.




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