After controlling the game for most of the night in Orlando, the Magic almost gave away a 23-point lead to the Pistons in preseason game number six. The Magic held on to what turned into an exciting matchup, after some atrocious basketball for most of the game for the Pistons on both ends of the floor.
The Pistons came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter on Sunday night, but with a completely depleted backcourt, the Magic’s pesky guards were just too much for a rookie point guard to handle for 47 minutes. Peyton Siva, who played almost the entire game on Sunday with injuries to Brandon Jennings (Jaw), Rodney Stuckey (Thumb), Will Bynum (Food Poising), and Chauncey Billups (Rest) in the backcourt, struggled to hold on to the ball while being the main ball carrier for the entire game. Siva finished with 12 points on 3/10 shooting from the floor, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, but a scary 9 turnovers.
Starting next to Siva in the backcourt was rookie shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The guard out of the University of Georgia, didn’t shoot as much as we have been accustomed to this preseason, but did seem more selective and less erratic with his shot. Caldwell-Pope, after taking advice from his veterans after the blowout in Cleveland, decided to take a step in from the three-point arc while his struggles continue from distance. KCP finished with 11 points in 35 minutes, shooting 4/9 from the floor and 2/3 from downtown, including a big time triple in the final minutes to bring his team within 4 points late.
One of the players that I expected to have a big game struggled a bit at times again in Orlando. Josh Smith, the Pistons major free agent acquisition this offseason played 29 minutes for Mo Cheeks on Sunday. At times Smith looked disinterested on the floor, resulting in some big runs by the Magic. But down the stretch Josh Smith looked like the guy we all thought he was. Forcing turnovers, getting out on the break, finding the open man, and attacking the rim on the break, even knocking down a pair of triples late in the final quarter. After finding Greg Monroe on the fast break with under a minute to go for the Pistons first lead since the first half, Smith gave up a basket to Magic big man Kyle O’Quinn on the other end.
The Magic took an 87-86 lead with just 32 seconds remaining in the game. Mo Cheeks called a timeout to advance the ball and set-up a potential game winner. After the timeout, the Pistons got the ball into Peyton Siva who finds Josh Smith on the perimeter. Instead of taking the ball to the paint and trying to draw the foul while trailing by just one point, Smith decides to jack up a three-point shot early in the shot clock, as the mystery of Josh Smith’s shot selection continues. The Pistons would later go on to lose by the same score 87-86 after Ronnie Price misses a pair of free throws with 0.4 seconds to go. J-Smoove finished the ball game with 13 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
The other two Piston big man stepped up tremendously throughout the fourth quarter where the Pistons erased a 23-point Orlando lead completely. Detroit outscored the Magic 32-15 in the fourth, behind 14 points and 15 boards for Andre Drummond, and 19 points by the Moose, Greg Monroe.
Detroit shot above their preseason average of 41.2% from the floor ever so slightly, connecting on 41.7% of their shot attempts. Detroit again out rebounded their opponent for the fourth time this preseason 45-36, but again struggled to hold on to the ball resulting in a preseason high 25 turnovers (average 20.4). The Pistons starters combined to score 69 of their teams 86 points as the bench’s struggles continue. Detroit falls to (2-4) this preseason, as they head back home for the final two games of this year’s preseason schedule.
– Josh Smith: 28 MIN; 13 PTS; 8 REBS; 4 ASTS; 4 STLS
– Greg Monroe: 35 MIN; 19 PTS; 2 REBS; 2 BLKS; 1 STL
– Andre Drummond: 36 MIN; 14 PTS; 15 REBS; 2 BLKS; 2 ASTS
– Kyle Singler: 21 MINS; 6 PTS; 3 REBS; 3 STLS
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 35 MIN; 11 PTS; 1 REB; 1 STL
– Peyton Siva: 47 MIN; 12 PTS; 7 ASTS; 4 REBS; 9 TO
– Jonas Jerebko: 14 MIN; 2 PTS; 6 REBS
– Charlie Villanueva: 14 MIN; 9 PTS; 3 REBS
– Tony Mitchell: 5 MIN; 3 REBS
Detroit is in action again on Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills in an Opening Night Preview against the Washington Wizards. The last two games of this preseason will be broadcasted by Fox Sports Detroit this week, as the Pistons finish out the preseason.
Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Charlie Villanueva Chauncey Billups Detroit Pistons Greg Monroe Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Orlando Magic Peyton Siva Rodney Stuckey Will Bynum