Newcomers shine in debut, help Pistons overcome 15-point deficit against Orlando in season opener

Five Pistons scored in double figures

Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) is greeted by guards Jaden Ivey (23) and Cade Cunningham (2) after a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons took down the Orlando Magic 113-109 in the season opener thanks to an influx of talent, including newcomers Bojan Bogdanovic, Jalen Duren, and NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Jaden Ivey.

Jaden Ivey

Ivey was cooking at Little Caesars Arena, shooting 8-13 from the field, 2-4 from deep for 19 points, four assists, and three rebounds in his NBA debut.

His 19 points were the fourth most for a player making his Pistons debut behind the late great Bob Lanier (22 points), Grant Hill (25 points), and Detroit Bad Boys legend Isiah Thomas (31 points).

“It feels really good to get my first win, especially coming off of preseason not winning a game,” said Ivey. “That (losing) kind of ticked me off a little bit, so it was good to get the first one, and now it’s time to roll into another game.”

The crowd was behind Ivey all night as he dazzled fans with a plethora of oohs and ahhs while showcasing his ball-handling skills, jump shot, and ridiculous athleticism, which was on display Wednesday (Oct. 19) night.

“It’s electric to go out here every night and compete,” Ivey said. “The fans were live tonight, and I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to getting back out here and competing.”

Jalen Duren

Duren was a huge spark off the bench for Detroit as the Pistons finally had a body to deal with the length and athleticism of the Magic while on defense. But on offense, the rookie high flyer was a man amongst boys as he continuously attacked the rim on both ends of the floor.

Duren finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to record a double-double, and he did that in his season debut.

“He’s (Duren) such a force,” Ivey said. “He’s a really great athlete that has a nose for the ball, and he can get rebounds. He’s tough to guard, man, and he played a great game for us tonight, and we’re going to need him coming up.”

The Pistons came out of the gates on fire as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead. But former Michigan Wolverines forward Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, and 2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero took matters into their own hands as the Magic retook the lead and extended it as they went on an early 17-0 run to go up 21-6.

Bojan Bogdanovic

The Pistons regained their focus in the second quarter as they outscored Orlando 40-27 behind the sharp shooting of Bogdanovic. The new addition looked like the Human Torch, scoring 10 points in under four minutes to help his team take a two-point lead into the half.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 19: Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Little Caesars Arena on October 19, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

The trend continued in the second half as Detroit entered the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead. Every time Bogdanovic shot the rock, he burned the nets.

The man was so hot that fans started changing MVP, so it’s safe to say that he put on for the city in his debut as he shot 8-16 from the field, 6-10 from beyond the arc to lead the pistols with 24 points, five rebounds and two assists.

But fans will probably remember him sinking those pivotal free throws in the games-waning moments to seal the deal for their first win of the season.

Cade Cunningham

The Pistons looked like a team that would harken back to what fans saw last season when they finished with a 23-59 record as they went down by double-digits.

The game was filled with bad decision-making and poor defense until Cade Cunningham drove the paint and kicked the ball out to a wide-open Isaiah Stewart for three to put the Pistons up 111-107. But they kept their composure, made the right passes, and plays down the stretch to improve to 1-0 on the season.

After a slow start, Cunningham finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points while dropping 10 dimes. Stewart went 3-6 from the field and 1-4 from deep for 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists, but to have the trust and faith in him to continue shooting after going 0-3 to seal the deal is a massive plus in the confidence department.

Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) is greeted by guards Jaden Ivey (23) and Cade Cunningham (2) after a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“I couldn’t wait to get the starters back in on that second half,” said Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. “But, it was a team effort as everybody came in and contributed in some way. I thought the second unit got us back into the game in the first half, and down the stretch, I thought our guys were solid.”

Casey continued:

“Bogi (Bogdanovic) and Cade (Cunningham) made some great plays down the stretch, and (Jalen) Duren was a monster rebounding and protection the rim, and Zay (Stewart) was also.”

The Pistons will look to keep the good times rolling as they’ll travel to New York Friday to face the Knicks in game one of a three-game road trip. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Read: Here’s why the Detroit Pistons will make the playoffs or at least the play-in tournament


About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.