Detroit Pistons Go Up 3-1 with Win in Orlando
Despite having an All-Star point guard on the sidelines in dress clothes, the Detroit Pistons took care of business on the road to go up 3-1 on the Orlando Magic. In a game that had 20 lead changes with Detroit down by as much as 15 and was tied 26 times, the Pistons made it clear why they have been to five consecutive Eastern Conference Finals. They know how to get it done down the wire.
Tayshaun Prince, who scored 17 points for the Pistons, sunk the game winner on a floating layup with 8.9 seconds left. Orlando, who left the game in Hedo Turkoglu’s hands, had the last possession to make good, but couldn’t get his heavily contested layup to go. It also didn’t help matters for Orlando that Jameer Nelson missed one of his foul shots late in the game that could have tied it up in Orlando’s 89-90 loss to Detroit.
The Pistons looked impressive without their leader on the floor, especially when they made a surge after halftime and went on a 15-0 run over a seven-minute stretch. Detroit’s Lindsey Hunter, who was activated because of Billups’ injury, was the key for Detroit on the defensive end, forcing Magic turnovers while running the point in his teammates place.
Richard Hamilton scored a game-high 32 points for the Pistons, while Turkoglu led the Magic with 20. Most importantly for Detroit was their success in caging Orlando’s superhero Dwight Howard. The Pistons held Dwight to just 8 points and 12 boards, collapsing on him and preventing him from getting the ball close to the basket where he’s so successful.
The series goes back to Detroit for game five where Detroit can clinch their sixth straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Chauncey Billups isn’t a lock to return, but if Detroit can win on the road without him, you can bet they will be even more difficult to beat in their building. Billups or no Billups, the Magic will have to play almost perfect to beat a Detroit team that will be looking to seal their destiny Tuesday night in Auburn Hills.