The Orlando Magic figured they’d get a stiff challenge from the Detroit Pistons in the second game of a back-to-back set.
They certainly did.
The Magic failed to gain any offensive traction and struggled to keep the Pistons out of the paint during a 105-93 loss Tuesday night at Amway Center.
Nikola Vucevic, who was named an All-Star just before tipoff, finished with 20 points for the Magic (13-19), who saw their three-game win streak end.
Evan Fournier scored 14 points and Terrence Ross had 13 — just three in the second half — for Orlando.
Saben Lee scored 21 points off the bench to lead the Pistons (9-22).
Magic coach Steve Clifford said the Pistons are hard to play against, and they showed why. They constantly applied ball pressure, contested shots and used their switching defense to fill passing lanes.
Even when the Magic had open shots, they couldn’t seem to make them. Orlando wound up shooting 37.5% (33-of-88).
In addition, the Pistons were opportunistic in turning 12 Magic turnovers into 20 points.
The Pistons posted 56 points in the paint on 28-of-48 shooting. They had 36 points in the paint during Sunday’s loss to the Magic.
The game was tied 53-53 early in the third quarter before Detroit went on a 16-4 run to take control, building a 69-57 lead on a 3-pointer by Dennis Smith. Poor shooting hampered Orlando in that stretch as the hosts were 3 of 15.
The Magic went 0 for 10 from the 3-point line in the quarter after going 9 for 18 in the first half.
Detroit’s lead reached 18 early in the fourth and Orlando could get no closer than 13 until the closing minute.
The Magic return to action Thursday when they face the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida.