Pistons secure home-court throughout East playoffs
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups posted 28 points and
eight assists, as the Detroit Pistons got their third straight win, and a
guarantee of home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs,
with a 104-99 triumph over the Orlando Magic.
Richard Hamilton scored 21 points for the Pistons, who are 4 1/2 games ahead
of Chicago and five games ahead of Cleveland for the top spot in both the
Central Division and East standings. Tayshaun Prince netted 17 points and
Antonio McDyess added 14 off the bench for the Pistons, who have won six of
their last seven games.
“I think we got out of (the game) what we needed to,” Detroit coach Flip
Saunders said. “We worked on some things. We played well when we needed to
play well. For the most part, I thought we played pretty well.”
Grant Hill netted 22 points for the Magic, who had a two-game winning streak
snapped and are eighth in the Eastern Conference, just 1 1/2 games behind No.
7 New Jersey and one game ahead of Indiana. Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling
both scored 17 points, and Dwight Howard added 12 points and 16 rebounds in
With Detroit holding a two-point advantage in the final minute, Billups
drilled a trey with 24.6 seconds left for a 100-95 Pistons lead.
Trevor Ariza then scored on a layup with 16.4 seconds on the clock, but
Billups converted four straight free throws over the next 12 seconds to seal
the win for Detroit.
Detroit opened an early 12-4 lead as Billups scored on a layup with 7:22
remaining in the first, and led 34-21 heading into the second.
Orlando caught up on a 13-5 run, the first eight points of which came from
Dooling, for a 50-41 lead heading down the first-half stretch. Detroit held a
56-46 halftime margin.
“I thought our guys fought hard in the second half,” Orlando coach Brian Hill
said. “In the first half (the Pistons) shot 67 percent and made every jump
shot they took. We gave them four easy ones in front of the rim where we
didn’t foul them. We talked at halftime about being more physical.”
The Pistons went on a 15-3 burst midway through the third as Prince’s two
straight treys put them ahead 77-61 with five minutes left, and Detroit led
84-73 heading into the fourth.
Wednesday’s matchup between Detroit and Orlando was the fourth and final
meeting of the regular season. The Pistons were 4-0 in the season series and
have won eight of nine and 11 of the last 13 meetings…Orlando has lost six
straight and eight of its last nine in Motown.