Orlando, Fla.— Saddiq Bey scored a career-high 51 points to go along with nine boards, four assists, and three steals on 17-for-27 shooting to help the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic 134-120 on Thursday night to end a four-game losing skid at Amway Center.
Bey tied the franchise record with 10 3-pointers in 14 attempts. He was 17 for 27 overall.
“I came in saying, I gotta lock in and try to finish this season out strong,” Bey said. “Kinda had a reality check after the loss to Miami. I came to the hotel in Orlando saying I’ve got to refocus and try to finish out this road trip strong. That was my mentality coming in.”
Bey’s big night put him in the franchise’s archives: He became the seventh player in team history to score 50 points, joining Jerry Stackhouse (57 on April 3, 2001), Kelly Tripucka (56 on Jan. 29, 1983), Dave Bing (54 on Feb. 21, 1971), George Yardley (52 on Feb. 4, 1958, and 51 on Jan. 15, 1958), Rip Hamilton (51 on Dec. 27, 2006) and Blake Griffin (50 on Oct. 23, 2018).
You can tell it was going to be Bey’s night, he had 21 points at the end of the first quarter, and 30 by halftime. He was pulling from deep stroking threes with ease. They should of name the court Saddiq Bey’s arena, everything he shot seemed to be going in.
Entering Thursday’s game against the Magic, Bey was shooting just 32.1% in his previous five games, with 13 points or less in all five. After Tuesday’s loss in Miami, during which he made four of 12 shots and only one of nine 3-pointers, he must of slept with the rock Wednesday because game day Bey was unconscious.
Orlando scored the first nine points of the game, but that lead was quickly evaporated by Bey. Detroit moved ahead for good on a dunk by Stewart that broke a 50-50 tie halfway through the second quarter.
“Saddiq is somebody who works hard, and he’s just a gamer,” Isaiah Stewart said. “He’s a baller. A bucket. It ain’t no surprise to me.”
Bey’s performance was contagious, and the Pistons as a whole put together one of their better performances of the season. They matched a season-high with 34 assists, shot 50% from the floor and knocked down 20 of 43 3-point attempts.
Bey finished the first half on fire, scoring five points in less than five seconds. He hit a 20-footer while falling out of bounds with 8.8 seconds left, came up with a back-court steal and made a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left, leaving the Pistons with a 73-62 lead.
“It’s natural,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Guys just started pulling for him, bench was jumping up and down. It was beautiful to see that type of camaraderie that guys had pulling for each other. Cade over there sick, jumping up and down. It was great to see everybody pulling for Saddiq. Tough year in the rebuild, it’s always ugly. But there’s a lot of beautiful of things like tonight, the camaraderie, the momentum, the building, the experience the guys got this year. We didn’t get rewarded with wins, but beautiful moments like tonight, you can’t put a number on it.”
Bey hit a jumper at the 2:39 mark of the fourth quarter to get to 46 and hit a long3-pointer with 1:08 remaining to get to 49. In the final minute, Bey had a chance to crack 50, but the shot was blocked.
On the Pistons’ final possession of the game, he was fouled, sending him to the free-throw line for two chances to surpass 50 points. He made both free throws, and even the Magic fans serenaded Bey.
Marvin Bagley III poured in 20 points and 11 rebounds and Isaiah Stewart 16 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, who were playing without leading scorer Jerami Grant and Cade Cunningham.
”Rebuilding is always ugly,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said, ”but there’s a lot of beautiful moments like tonight.”
Franz Wagner led the Magic with 26 points along with 5 rebounds.
Pistons: G Cade Cunningham missed his second straight game because of a non-COVID illness. F Jerami Grant sat out the game because of right knee inflammation. All 10 Pistons who played had at least one assist, and Bey had four of the team’s 34. Detroit won the season series 3-1.
Magic: Cole Anthony missed his first 10 shots. F Wendell Carter Jr. did not play due to a sprained left ankle. G Jalen Suggs missed his fourth game with a bruised right ankle. F Chuma Okeke missed his first game since Jan. 3 with a left knee contusion.
Pistons: At Cleveland on Saturday night.
Magic: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday night.