Wallace provides dagger; Hamilton paces Pistons past Magic
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Richard Hamilton scored 16 of his 22
points in the second half, as the Pistons moved two games ahead of Orlando in
their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a 98-90 victory.
Chauncey Billups added 21 points and eight assists, while Rasheed Wallace
contributed 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for Detroit. Tayshaun
Prince had 18 points for the Pistons, who had all five of their starters in
double figures, just like Saturday night in a 100-92 series-opening win. Chris
Webber ended with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Hedo Turkoglu had 22 points before fouling out for the Magic, who also got 21
points and eight boards from Grant Hill.
Dwight Howard, who had 13 points and 19 rebounds in the opener, was limited
to eight points and 11 boards on Monday, going 3-of-9 from the field.
“We just tried to take him (Howard) out of his comfort zone and make him take
some difficult shots,” Webber said. “The big guys did a good job. It was a
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Thursday at Orlando.
The Magic, in the playoffs for the first time since 2003 when they were beaten
by the Pistons in the first round, haven’t been able to overcome the balanced
attack from Hamilton and company.
Hamilton went 12-of-14 at the foul line, sealing the win by making all six of
his free throw attempts in the final minute.
“I’m sick and tired of getting hit hard out there,” Hamilton said. “I’ll tell
you that. But it’s a part of the game. I know that’s what people are trying to
do. Like the Energizer Bunny, I’m going to take a licking and keep on
ticking. It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s the playoffs.”
Detroit led by as many as 15 in the final quarter, but it was Wallace’s
desperation shot that in essence put away the Magic.
“Sheed was huge again,” Billups said. “Sheed is really focused right now.
He’s our X-factor at all times. When we can get that kind of effort and focus
from him, I feel good about us every single night.”
Turkoglu’s jumper brought the Magic within 85-78 with nearly 3 1/2 minutes
left. Then, with the shot clock about to expire, Wallace sent a one-handed
attempt from well beyond the arc, and the ball caromed off the glass and
in, moving the lead back to double-digits with less than three minutes
remaining. Orlando didn’t get closer than six the rest of the way.
“That was a big shot for us, but I know it took a lot of air out of their
sails,” Billups said. “Sheed, he hits crazy shots like that. I can’t say he
meant to do that, but I’ll take it.”
Antonio McDyess ended with nine points and 11 rebounds for Detroit.
Darko Milicic, drafted by Detroit second overall in 2003, heard the boos again
and finished with 10 points for the Magic.
Hamilton’s jumper capped nine consecutive points for the Pistons, moving them
to a 19-12 advantage with just over five minutes left in the opening quarter.
The lead grew to as many as 10 before Detroit ended the period with a 28-22
Hill’s driving layup brought the Pistons within 38-36 with under four minutes
left in the second, capping seven straight Orlando points. Orlando got within
one later in the quarter, but still trailed 47-44 at intermission.
“Before the game, we talked about using our quickness more instead of
being as methodical as we were in Game 1,” Hill said. “That just played into
their hands. I thought we did a good job of that in stretches, but they are
good. They force you to play their game.”
Wallace’s jumper widened Detroit’s lead to 52-44 and the Pistons used a 9-2
spurt later in the third to extend the margin to 67-54. Prince drained a three
and Billups hit a driving layup to culminate the flurry, and the Pistons
carried a 71-59 lead going into the fourth.
Detroit has beaten the Magic six straight times, including a four-game sweep
during this regular season…Orlando’s last win at the Palace was February 22,