Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic lose everything and the fight

A second quarter scuffle between Moe Wagner and Kllian Hayes was the capper on a frustrating evening for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
A second quarter scuffle between Moe Wagner and Kllian Hayes was the capper on a frustrating evening for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

38. 121. 64. Final. 101

Everyone will talk about what happened with 33 seconds left in the first half.

The Orlando Magic had a wayward pass that rolled into the backcourt. Moe Wagner gave chase to let it roll safely out of bounds while Killian Hayes pursued to try to get the steal. Wagner gave a shove to Hayes, sending him into the Pistons’ bench. That is when Hayes got up and retaliated, punching Wagner in the back of the head.

The Magic’s bench cleared with several players running over to try to pull Wagner out of the Pistons’ bench and separate the two sides. Suspensions from that decision will surely be coming down Thursday to affect Friday and possibly even Wednesday’s games.

In the end, Moe Wagner was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game, Killian Hayes was ejected for his role in the fracas and Hamidou Diallo was ejected for escalating. That will not be the last we hear of this incident.

But it was the stamp on a frustrating second quarter and then a frustrating game for a Magic team that could not find its energy in a 121-101 loss at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Wednesday.

The Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons got into an actual scuffle that highlighted the frustration the Magic faced as they again struggled to find energy.

The Pistons outscored the Magic 39-24 in the second quarter, shooting 12 for 23 from the floor and 6 for 12 from beyond the arc. Saddiq Bey scored 16 of his 28 points in the quarter. Alec Burks had 32 points and six 3-pointers to put the Pistons in the lead early and keep them in the lead through the third quarter.

The Magic simply had no answers. They could not overcome that deficit — they trailed by 17 at the time of the Moe Wagner incident — and they could not get out of their own way with fouling and 3-point defense to make much of a dent.

Orlando’s offense lacked rhythm for most of the night and never found enough traction to cut the lead closer than 12 points.

The Magic shot just 41.2 percent for the game and 5 for 22 from deep. With the Pistons hitting 18 of 42 from deep, it was going to be hard for the team to come back. Especially without good energy on both ends for the second straight night.

The Magic are trying to find their rhythm again and get back on the same page. That is going to be part of this team’s growing process now that this bright spot has seemingly faded.

Player Grades

Bol Bol – B-

Bol Bol is at the heart of a lot of issues for the Orlando Magic.

When the ball is popping and moving and the team is active defensively, he is able to get out in transition and do Bol Bol things. The ball will find him and he will make energy plays — like his hair-raising dunk in the third quarter — that just energize everyone around him.

Bol scored 11 points to go with six rebounds. So he had plenty of activity.

But everything with Bol feels like a gamble. His defensive activity and awareness are still pretty low. The Magic put him on Isaiah Stewart looking to hide him on the big man who was floating out to the perimeter. Just like against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday with Bol Bol defending Patrick Beverley.

Stewart missed his 3-pointers early but this takes the Magic out of their defensive intensity. And teams are not super worried about Bol doing much to them defensively.

Paolo Banchero – C-

Paolo Banchero is in a rough spot at the moment. Defenses have been loading up on him significantly and treating him like the star. But he has not had to do much in the last few games. Temas have been able to frustrate him at every turn.

Banchero has been struggling with fouling, adding another five fouls to follow up his five-foul game from Tuesday’s game. Beyond that, he turned the ball over twice on a pair of travels. He was just struggling to get his shots going too, making only 4 of 12 shots to get to 15 points for the game.

Banchero was settling a lot for jumpers. That is the shot a lot of teams want to bait him into knowing what a treat he is getting to the line. Banchero had his usual eight free throw attempts. He just needs to make shots.

In a game like this, the Magic need to lean on their stars to pace them through. And that is something Banchero is still learning how to do as a young player. Orlando needs to have that steady drumbeat from him. It just was not there in this one.

Franz Wagner – B-

The same could be said for Franz Wagner. The Orlando Magic needed someone to kind of take over the game and give them energy and that was an area where Wagner struggled but got better at as the Magic played a more even second half.

Wagner finished with 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting, a solid effort considering the team’s overall shooting struggles. He had eight points at the half, meaning the bulk of his scoring came at the end of the game when the Magic were struggling to climb uphill.

On that front, it may be encouraging that Wagner got himself going and looked like his better self toward the end. If that momentum can carry over, the Magic should find their base.

Markelle Fultz – C+

Markelle Fultz ended up being the main driver for the Orlando Magic with both Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner struggling to get going. And for the most part, Fultz was able to get into the paint and create a little bit of push. That kind of effort was noticeable for the team. Someone had to have energy and Fultz was as good as any other.

But while Fultz provided some push and force for the team’s offense, he struggled to shoot and score. Fultz made just 2 of his 12 shots. That blunted the impact of his nine assists. So he could get the defense to collapse but shots were hard to come by and his own shot was just not going in when he got around the basket or got to his usual mid-range shot.

A better shooting game from him might have eased the pressure on others in the Magic lineup. But as it was, the Magic couldn’t find their offense consistently. Fultz at least created creases for them to create.

He also struggled defensively, creating problems for the Magic at the point of attack. That allowed the Pistons to get in the paint and wreak havoc.

Next. Being paint bullies is working for Orlando Magic. dark

The Orlando Magic will be back in action Friday at the Amway Center against the Washington Wizards to start a three-game homestand.