It’s a Make or Miss League: 3 Makes and Misses from Detroit’s Stout Defensive Win Over the Magic

Image: Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports

After a close and heavily defensive first half, the Detroit Pistons were able to continue to apply pressure to the Orlando Magic in the second half and pull away from them, winning 103-88 in tonight’s game. The win was desperately needed for the Pistons. This will be a nice bounce-back before their Wednesday home game against the Charlotte Hornets. So, as we do here at POP after every game, here are our 3 Makes and Misses for tonight’s win over the Orlando Magic.

1st Make: Bruce Brown performance at Point Guard

Now I haven’t been the biggest supporter when it comes to Bruce Brown and the idea of changing him from a shooting guard to a point guard…but I must admit I did witness him make some strides tonight.

He handled the point guard responsibilities with poise and purpose. Going against a former first overall draft pick at the point guard position in Markelle Fultz—and handling his own against Fultz who is having a resurgence in his career this year (averaging 10.8 points and 3.5 assists per game) now that he is with the Orland Magic.

Bruce Brown had a pretty good overall game—he did finish the game with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Even though he did commit 4 turnovers, what stood out the most to me about Brown’s performance was his decision-making.

Bruce Brown doesn’t have the most exciting game and that’s actually fine, it helps make his game simple. He was able to score by running into the paint and grabbing rebounds and scoring on putbacks, and being able to beat players like Markelle Fultz off the dribble and get to the cup to score.

Brown also was very handsy tonight. He kept his hands in the passing lanes and constantly contesting passes and hand-offs. Showing that even though he is being groomed to eventually be a point guard of the future for the Pistons, but that his defense is his true calling card in this league.

1st Miss: First-Half Struggles

Tonight the Pistons collectively seemed more engaged than they have been in previous games as of late.

But the game at times did appear to be a bit sloppy and couldn’t seem to afford to buy a bucket due to the stifling defense that the Orlando Magic was serving out tonight.

To the Magic’s credit, they did put forth a good effort defensively. The Magic have players like Mohamed Bamba and Johnathan Issac—young and physically long and lanky players who can play hard on both sides of the ball. Especially Issac who put his limbs to good use as he finished the night with 4 blocks and a steal.

Detroit shouldn’t have had a tough night scoring the ball against Orlando, who were without two of their best players, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. Two players combined makeup 30 points and 18 rebounds that the Magic are missing.

Detroit did help keep the game close, closing the half at 55-53 in favor of Orlando—and coming out in the second half both defensively and offensively engaged.

2nd Make: The Second Unit Came to Play

The bench really did a great job by showing up and showing out tonight. On a night when the starters were pretty good in their own right, the bench unit is what helped keep Detroit close in the game and finally pull away from the Magic as the second half progressed.

The bench unit accounted for 34 points. Mind you, that’s 34 points on a night were the leading scoring catalyst off the bench in Derrick Rose only scored 2 points on 1 of 11 shooting. Svi Mykhailiuk was the surprise of the night as he emerged, scoring 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting from three. His shooting helped provide another long-range threat that the Pistons needed to help keep the Magic defense honest.

Christian Wood once again was his same stat-stuffing self. He once again out-produced himself, scoring 12 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. He hustled and scrapped and made the Magic put him on notice because he was causing problems for them. The bench truly came through for the Pistons and really gave the starters a break and time to rest up before coming back into the game.

2nd Miss: Need More from Drummond and Rose

The Detroit Pistons put forth a good all-around effort tonight. But I was left feeling unsatisfied with tonight’s performance from both Andre Drummond and Derrick Rose.

Now I know that not every player will have a great game every night—but tonight against a team that is reeling from injuries to two of their best players in the Magic, I can’t lie and say wish Drummond Rose could’ve feasted on the weakened Orlando Magic.

Rose shot 1 of 11 and only scored 2 points and dishing out 6 assists. He still helps maintain the offense, but I did feel like he missed some easy layups that he normally makes, and rushed a few jump shots.

Andre Drummond committed yet another common sin, and that is foul trouble. Drummond did commit 3 fouls in the first-half and thankfully didn’t commit another foul for the rest of the game.

Drummond’s foul trouble can create problems for his team—because when he has to sit out, the team loses their best rebounder and rim protector, which can sometimes put them at a disadvantage and forces all the players to have to chip in more to make up for the lost of Drummond.

Drummond only took 6 field goal attempts and made only 3. In their next game against Charlotte, I would like to see him be more aggressive and take more shots and establish his presence in the paint.

3rd Make: Piston’s Defense

The Pistons were the best they’ve been all season on defense against the Magic.

As mentioned earlier, the game in the first-half was a bit sloppy at certain points of the game, but Detroit displayed their best defensive performance, as they held Orlando to 88 points, the lowest point total they have held a team to all season.

Even though Detroit didn’t outmatch Orlando in blocks (7 to 5) and steals (8 to 6), they did do a better job at contesting shots and passes.

Andre Drummond was once again a black hole in the paint sucking in every miss shot and being the leading rebounder with 18 rebounds.

If Detroit can continue this style of play, then they shouldn’t have a problem accumulating some consecutive wins to get on a winning streak—especially when they are going against sub-500 teams in Charlotte and San Antonio for the rest of the week.

3rd Miss: Piston’s lack of size/rebounding

When Andre Drummond was tagged with his third personal foul, he was forced to come out of the game in the middle of the second quarter. As stated earlier, Drummond must work on defending without fouling. But the rest of his teammates need to learn how to rebound when their starting Center is not on the floor.

When Drummond was sitting, on the defensive side the Pistons appeared small and outmuscled—which really means something when you have to compete against players like Bamba, Issac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Khem Birch, players who are long and lanky players who hustle and have a nose for rebounding.

It isn’t a secret that the Pistons lack size, but they need to find a way to stay active on the boards when Drummond is off the court. Even with players like Blake Griffin, Thon Maker, and Wood, the guards on the team could be more effective in helping their bigs in trying to control the rebounding battle against other teams.

Featured Image: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press


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