Detroit Pistons lose at home to Orlando, 119-112, but 'win' in NBA draft lottery race

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Omari Sankofa II, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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The Detroit Pistons controlled the first 18 minutes of the game. But a switch flipped for the Orlando Magic midway through the second quarter, and they handed the Pistons a home defeat.

In a game that could impact the final lottery odds in two weeks, the Pistons (19-46) lost to the Magic (21-44) at Little Caesars Arena, 119-112. Detroit took a 43-36 lead at the six-minute mark of the second quarter, but Orlando closed the quarter with a 15-3 run and led for the remainder of the game.

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With the loss, the Pistons' separation for the second-best lottery odds grew. They're behind the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have 20 wins, and the Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, who have 21 wins.

Pistons forward Saddiq Bey chases the loose ball during the first half on Monday, May 3, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.
Pistons forward Saddiq Bey chases the loose ball during the first half on Monday, May 3, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.

Saddiq Bey led all scorers with 26 points and recorded his 11th game this season, and second-straight, with at least five 3-pointers. His 5-for-10 night from behind the arc gives him a two-game lead for the rookie record. Allen Iverson and Steph Curry are tied for second place with nine such games.

Frank Jackson scored 19 points off of the bench, and Hamidou Diallo added 16 points and seven rebounds in his first start of the season for the Pistons. Cook had 13 points off of the bench and Isaiah Stewart finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and three blocks.

Bey nearly led a comeback for the Pistons during the final five minutes of the game, scoring eight consecutive points from the 4:16 mark to the 3:31 mark to cut the deficit to three, 107-104. Orlando scored 12 of the final 20 points of the game to close out the win, however.

Diallo thrives during first start

After missing Saturday's loss against the Charlotte Hornets with knee soreness, it wasn't clear if Diallo would play on Monday. He carried a "questionable" diagnoses on the injury report on Sunday night.

Pistons guard Frank Jackson makes a layup as Magic center Moritz Wagner defends during the first half on Monday, May 3, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.
Pistons guard Frank Jackson makes a layup as Magic center Moritz Wagner defends during the first half on Monday, May 3, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena.

His knee didn't appear to ail him, as he put together one of his best performances of the season against the Magic. It included a pair of clutch buckets in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, as the Pistons were looking to take their first lead of the second half.

He grabbed a rebound in traffic and finished a fallaway midrange jumper over Mo Bamba with 2:50 to play to cut the deficit back to three, and a driving layup with 1:27 left to reduce it to four. His 16 points (5-10 overall shooting, 2-4 from 3) marked his highest-scoring outing since March 31, when he scored 19 points.

Tyler Cook brings energy off of bench

It's been about six weeks since Cook joined the Pistons on a 10-day contract, and just under a month since the franchise signed him through the rest of the season. He's been in and out of the rotation this month, but Monday illustrated why the Pistons signed him.

He finished with 13 points and three rebounds in 16 minutes, making all six of his shot attempts. His highlight play was a poster dunk on Magic center Mo Bamba early in the fourth quarter.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons lose to Orlando, 119-112, 'win' in NBA draft lottery