ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The Orlando Magic came into Wednesday night’s game with all intentions of finishing the 2016-2017 season on a high note. After Aaron Gordon’s hot start with 14 points in the first quarter and Elfrid Payton’s finishing shots in the final minutes, the Orlando Magic concluded the season with a 113-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
“Yeah, it wasn’t the right energy. It wasn’t the right feeling throughout the whole team. I think we came out with more positive attitude and that was the result.” – Magic Forward Aaron Gordon on the Magic’s effort Wednesday night
Gordon, who had a rough game against the Bulls on Monday, started out using his entire arsenal of versatile offensive skill. He scored all of his points in a variety of ways: he hit a couple of early three-point shots and, of course, showcased his high-flying dunking ability. Gordon finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds in the game and left the season–and Magic fans–with a glimpse of the future going into next season.
Payton, who finished the season as arguably the best player in the last six weeks of the season, had 21 points and 13 assists in the game and, most importantly, put the Magic on his young shoulders as he hit Orlando’s final three field goals as the Magic won their 29th game of the season.
“We definitely wanted to win for the fans. It was the largest crowd that we have ever had. We definitely wanted to get it for the fans and definitely for us; trying to get some momentum going into the end of the season and end it on a good note.” Elfrid Payton on the Magic’s effort in front of the record-breaking Amway Center crowd
Detroit was led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smit, who both had 20 points apiece. Those two and the play of Boban Marjanovic (14 points and 11) off the bench, helped the Pistons come back from being down as many as 21 points in the contest.
Orlando ended the season on a much better effort than what was displayed on Monday night, when they lost by a franchise record 47 points to the Chicago Bulls. The team finished with a 29-53 record on the season which puts them with the 6th most lottery balls in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery in mid-May. The Magic could jump up as high as number one and as low as number 8 in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Points of Interest:
- Nikola Vucevic had his 38th double-double of the season
- Mario Hezjonja set a career-high with 11 rebounds
- The night’s crowd was announced at 19,458, an Amway Center record
Danny Thompson is a sports contributor for Florida National News.