Billups and Hamilton help Detroit to Game 1 win
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored 22 points and
dished out 11 assists and Richard Hamilton also had 22 as Detroit cruised past
Orlando, 100-92, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at The
Palace of Auburn Hills.
Rasheed Wallace poured in 16 points and six rebounds, while Tayshaun Prince
and Chris Webber each chipped in 12 points for the Pistons, who are the top
seed in the East for the second straight year and making their six consecutive
Detroit, which fell to the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat in last year’s
Eastern Conference finals, is seeking its fourth title and first since the
Hidayet Turkoglu had 17 points for the Magic, who returned to the postseason
for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign. Grant Hill and Darko Milicic
posted 14 points apiece, while Dwight Howard recorded a double-double with 13
and 19 boards in defeat.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Monday at The Palace.
Orlando trailed the entire game, but made things interesting in the fourth
After Webber drained a driving layup to make it 91-77 with 5 1/2 minutes to
play, the Magic went on a 13-2 spurt — capped by Howard’s dunk — to cut to
within 93-90 with just under one minute left.
Prince then responded with a dunk of his own, but Hill kept it a three-point
affair, 95-92, with a lay-in with 26.2 seconds on the clock.
Billups, though, converted 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final moments
to seal the victory.
The Pistons finished 49 percent shooting from the field, while the Magic shot
an impressive 58 percent.
Detroit stormed out of the gate with a 13-4 burst — ended with Wallace’s
three-pointer — and went up 23-12 after a pair of Webber free throws with
4:07 left in the first quarter.
Antonio McDyess’ free throw capped the frame as the Pistons led 28-16.
Detroit continued to stay on top in the second and led by as many as 14 before
Orlando cut within eight, 51-43, on Trevor Ariza’s layup as time expired.
Billups’ trey extended the Pistons’ advantage to 16, 73-57 with 3:04 left in
the third while Hamilton dropped in four points minutes later to give Detroit
an 81-67 cushion.
McDyess ended with five points and nine rebounds…Jameer Nelson added 10
points for Orlando…Attendance was 22,076.