The Orlando Magic will host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday to kick off their return from the NBA All-Star break at home.
After winning four of their previous six games, Orlando lost to Toronto by a score of 123-113 heading into the break.
In the loss, Wendell Carter Jr. scored 26 points, which was his second-highest total of the season. He also had six rebounds and five assists. With 24 points off the bench, Jalen Suggs scored his second most points of the season.
Paolo Banchero returns after a strong performance in the Rising Stars Game, scoring 13 points against Toronto, nearly seven fewer than his team-leading 19.9 points per game. Despite this, he continues to struggle offensively. In the semifinals of the showcase for young talent on All-Star weekend, Banchero scored nine of Team Pau’s 40 points.
For January, Banchero was named Rookie of the Month. He leads the league in scoring, fourth in rebounding, and third in assists with 3.6 per game among the league’s freshman class.
Even though Orlando is 13th in the Eastern Conference, it is only four games behind Toronto for the 10th spot that qualifies for the play-in round of the postseason. Since the beginning of 2023, the Magic have won 11-11 basketball games, or.500.
Detroit, on the other hand, returns to competition with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, having lost five of six games prior to the break.
The Pistons lost 127-109 to Boston to end the first half, the second of three consecutive road games that end in Orlando.
James Wiseman, the second-round selection in the 2020 draft, made his debut for Detroit during his trip to Boston. After missing the entire 2021-22 season due to a knee injury, Wiseman struggled to score in 21 games this season with Golden State.
After a delayed trade that also included Portland and Atlanta, he ended up with the Pistons. When Gary Payton II failed a physical, Wiseman’s debut was slowed down.
On the roster, Wiseman joins the likes of rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren and third-year players Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart. Cade Cunningham, a second-year guard, made 12 appearances and averaged almost 20 points per game before suffering a shin injury that ended the season.
Detroit is set to sign R.J. Hampton, a former Magic player who Orlando acquired after the deadline for trades, as a third-year guard to improve depth.