ORLANDO, Fla. – – – Franz Wagner scored 24 points and edged fellow rookie Cade Cunningham, Terrence Ross added 21 points and the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 119-103 in a worst-team clash of the NBA on Friday night.
Wagner, second to Cunningham in scoring among rookies, made 7 of 12 shots, made all eight of his free throws and scored 13 points in the first quarter. Mo Bamba had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Chuma Okeke added 17 points and three 3-pointers.
“I was just trying to be aggressive. I felt good and got the line a few times which always helps to find the rhythm,” said Wagner, who was picked eighth in the draft. last summer “I was able to go to the basket a few times and just tried to make easy plays.”
Orlando won at home for the second time in three games and the fourth time this season. The Magic had lost twice to the Pistons in Detroit and improved to 10-40, two games behind the Pistons in the standings. Only three of Orlando’s wins have been in double digits.
Cunningham, the top draft pick, missed his first 11 shots and finished with eight points on 3-of-17 shooting. Cunningham was coming off a career-best 34-point effort in Tuesday’s loss to Denver, but he struggled early on with Orlando rookie Jalen Suggs guarding him. Cunningham made just 7 of 39 shots in three games against the Magic, missing all of his 15 3-point attempts.
“It’s this league. There are great players and great athletes in this league and I think Orlando has prepared well for them,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “We felt like we were prepared for what they were about to do, but we tip our hats to the Orlando Magic tonight.”
Trey Lyles scored 18 points and Saddiq Bey added 17 for Detroit, which has lost four straight. The Pistons fell to 4-22 on the road.
Ross opened the fourth quarter with three straight 3-pointers to push Orlando’s lead to 24 points.
Orlando hit 15 of its first 22 shots and built a 22-point lead in the first quarter. Detroit cut that deficit to seven in the second period, but Orlando cut its lead to 67-51 at halftime.
“At the start of the first quarter, you spot a 20-point team, but we’re just not ready to approach their physicality,” Casey said. “They did a great job of getting inside us.”
Suggs had six points, four assists, two steals and a block to deny a dunk while playing physical defense on Cunningham.
“I think he did a great job and was willing and willing to take on this challenge,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “He did a great job of getting on the ball and having active hands early on.”
The Magic are 2-2 in their five-game home run all season.
“The most important thing is that we take a step in the right direction, and today was one of those days,” Wagner said.
Pistons: Cunningham missed his first 11 shots and three 3-point tries. He asked the umpire for the ball during a second quarter timeout so he could shoot a 3-foot jumper. His first points came with 1:51 left in the first half on two free throws. … Casey said Jerami Grant continues to turn back the clock in NBA health and safety protocols. Grant remained in Michigan to work with Pistons development coach John Beilein.
Magic: Anthony was fined $25,000 Friday for derogatory remarks toward officials at the end of Orlando’s 111-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Anthony had 12 points, nine assists and six rebounds on Friday. … Bamba continues to play despite spraining his ankle in training this week.
Pistons: Host Cleveland on Sunday night.
Magic: host Dallas on Sunday night.