Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 113, Detroit Pistons 109

Apr 12, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (7) attempted to defend during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons 113-109. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (7) attempted to defend during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons 113-109. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic ended their season on a high note, getting three big shots from Elfrid Payton and pulling out the victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Amway Center crowd was on its feet like the game actually meant something to the two teams. They were going to send out the Magic with some energy. And Orlando was going to try to send them home happy.

No, the Magic did not play their full rotation, finishing much of the game with either Aaron Gordon or Stephen Zimmerman playing at center. But they did come down to the wire with everyone on the edge of their seats.

After Boban Marjanovic got a put-back and drew a foul to give the Pistons a one-point lead, Elfrid Payton answered back.

Payton hit back-to-back-to-back step-back jumpers to deliver the Magic a two-possession lead and eventually an 113-109 victory over the Pistons at Amway Center in front of an announced record crowd of 19,458.

Those fans got their money’s worth to end the season.

They really got it from the start of the game to the end. The Magic responded to Monday’s disappointing defeat with a strong and energetic effort to open the game. They took a 38-17 lead after one quarter for their largest lead of the game, doing so with 3-point shooting and ball movement and defense and all the things the Magic always wanted to be.

Aaron Gordon got himself going early with transition opportunities and an irrationally confident jumper as Orlando hit 6 of 10 3-pointers. It got the whole team going and in the right spirit throughout the game.

Detroit worked its way back into the game. The Magic’s bench still had its struggles and the Pistons attacked to get to the line to close the gap.

That may not have been how coach Frank Vogel wanted the game to end, but he did want to give his young players the chance to win the game. And so that part, at least, went according to some design. The Magic played Zimmerman, Mario Hezonja, Gordon, Payton and Marcus Georges-Hunt.

In a tight game, each played their role in the win. Zimmerman hit a big running hook to put the Magic up and did his best to hold off Marjanovic. Gordon was the offensive leader for much of the night, carrying the Magic back into the game after giving up the lead.Hezonja pulled down a career-high in rebounds and hit a big 3-pointer late. Georges-Hunt iced the game from the foul line.

And Payton delivered at the end. Vogel put the ball in his hands and let him go to work. The Magic got their win they wanted and delivered a happy ending to a frustrating 2017 season.

Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON. A. The Orlando Magic gave Aaron Gordon the reigns to this game and let him take over. It was a rare opportunity for the third-year forward with none of the other Magic veterans in the game. This was his game to win or lose with his effort. And Gordon was determined as anyone to deliver a win.<p>He took over the offense for stretches of the first and fourth quarter, making pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers and getting to the basket seemingly at will. He finished the game with 32 points on 11-for-20 shooting and 12 rebounds. If this was Gordon stepping his game up late in the season, it was a good sign for what he can become and just how much the Magic can trust him.</p><p>Of course, he was doing this against many of the Pistons’ reserves, at least at the end. Consistency is still a long-term goal for Gordon. But Wednesday’s finale was a good step for him. A game that proved he can do it.</p>. F

B. Coach Frank Vogel said he wanted to give his young guys some extra playing time for this finale and let them close the game. And he certainly delivered in giving Stephen Zimmerman plenty of minutes. Zimmerman played the second-half backup center minutes, logging nine minutes in the game.<p>It was a risk for sure as the still-raw Zimmerman was overmatched by the 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic throughout the game. Marjanovic had a few instances where he simply reached over Zimmerman for critical rebounds, leaving the rookie to flail for a foul. Zimmerman just does not have the body yet to handle someone of that size.</p><p>But it was overall a good game for Zimmerman. He scored two points and remained active throughout the game. His energy was generally good. His block of Marjanovic in the fourth quarter led to a run out for Orlando and got the team back into the game. And those two points? they came on a runner of Marjanovic off the glass late in the fourth quarter that gave the Magic the lead.</p>. C. Orlando Magic. STEPHEN ZIMMERMAN

PG. Orlando Magic. ELFRID PAYTON. A. Elfrid Payton was the unquestioned hero of the game for making three straight jumpers at the end of the game to give the Magic the lead, the lead for good and some breathing room up three points late. These were not open jumpers off reversals either. These were pull-up , off-the-dribble jumpers and step backs. The kind of shots no one ever really wants Payton taking.<p>Payton did more than that throughout the game. He controlled the tempo as he has done since the break and got the Magic moving. His energy was good and the team echoed it.</p><p>He finished with 21 points and 13 assists, making 10 of his 18 shots. He stepped into a 3-pointer too for good measure.</p>

F. Orlando Magic. MARIO HEZONJA. B. Mario Hezonja’s shot may have deserted him, but he continues to show plenty of strides in the other parts of his game. If he can find his shot this offseason, the Magic may have a decent rotation player to use next year.<p>Hezonja hit his first two buckets but finished 3 for 7 from the floor. That final basket was a big 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to keep the Magic afloat. With his shot not working, Hezonja found other ways to contribute.</p><p>He grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and played some solid defense throughout the night. He continues to show improvement there. Hezonja remains rough around the edges and needs a lot of development.</p>

Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy probably summed up his team’s game and season well in his postgame press conference. His team struggled to start and dug themselves a deep hole. They fought their way back. And then they came up just short in the end. That just about describes the Pistons’ entire season and identity.<p>Detroit found itself getting beat on hustle plays and nearly run out of the building in the first quarter. This was not the kind of effort the team wants to see. Again, Van Gundy describes the team aptly. The Pistons simply could not shoot. It was a problem all year and they shot 38.7 percent from the floor and 11 for 35 from beyond the arc.</p><p>Orlando played good defense for the most part. And the Magic got a bit wild with the fouling — giving up 28 free throws — but the Pistons lost opportunities there. <strong><a rel=. 37-45. 10th East. DETROIT PISTONS. C