Detroit Pistons rookie Saben Lee steals the show again in 105-93 win over Orlando Magic

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Omari Sankofa II, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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Detroit Pistons rookie Saben Lee was the team's best offensive player once again on Tuesday, and this time it was coupled with a win.

The Pistons defeated the Orlando Magic, 105-93, behind another strong performance by Lee. The two-way guard led all players with a career-high 21 points while converting eight of his 11 shot attempts, including all three of his 3-pointers. Before Tuesday, he hadn't made a 3-pointer in two attempts.

Lee was a bright spot for the Pistons on Sunday, despite a loss to Orlando.

The win Tuesday snapped a three-game losing streak for the Pistons. Josh Jackson added 18 points off of the bench, and Jerami Grant had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 20 points.

Career nights for Dennis Smith Jr. and Saben Lee

With Delon Wright and Killian Hayes nursing injuries, Dennis Smith Jr. and Saben Lee are the only healthy point guards on the roster. Smith received the start on Sunday, but Lee ended up having the stronger performance. On Tuesday, both players thrived.

After going scoreless on Sunday, Smith got off to a hot start against Orlando the second time around. He scored seven points in the first quarter and resumed his momentum when he checked after halftime, hitting a tough fallaway mid-range shot over Vucevic and a 3-pointer not long after. He was aggressive and efficient, having his best outing in a Pistons uniform with a season-high 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting and a pair of blocks.

As effective as Smith played, Lee had the stronger performance once again. Lee, the No. 38th pick overall in last year's draft added four assists, three rebounds and two steals to his 21 points. He appears be adapting well to the NBA’s pace and, for the second straight game, did a great job attacking the rim and creating open shots for his teammates. He was more involved as a scorer compared to Sunday, converting a number of difficult looks near the rim.

Both Smith and Lee looked deserving of the starting job on Tuesday, but Lee is surpassing expectations as a second-round draft pick. He’s made 11 of his 17 shot attempts this week and may be ready for a large role sooner than expected.

With Wayne Ellington out, Svi Mykhailiuk gets first start of season

The Pistons opted to rest Wayne Ellington on Tuesday. They followed the advice of their medical staff, Casey said before the game, and it created an opportunity for some of Detroit’s bench players to receive more minutes.

Mykhailiuk’s third season has been marred by inconsistency, and he entered the game shooting 37.2% overall and 32.3% from 3-point range — both declines from last season. His ongoing shooting slump has made it difficult for him to carve out a consistent role in the rotation.

With Ellington out, Casey inserted Mykhailiuk into the starting lineup for the first time this season. He had nine points, three rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. While he didn’t snap his slump in missing four of his five 3-point attempts, he made some nice passes and did a good job finishing at the rim. It’s unclear if Ellington will miss additional time, but it could open more opportunities for Mykhailiuk to get back on track.

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 rookie Saben Lee lights up Orlando Magic in win