Detroit breaks out the brooms in sweep of Orlando
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored 25 points and Richard
Hamilton added 19 as the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic, 97-93, to
sweep their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince added 13 points apiece for the Pistons,
who swept a playoff series for the first time since 1990. Chris Webber donated
11 points and 10 boards for Detroit, which is attempting to reach its fifth
consecutive Eastern Conference finals.
“We had very good focus,” said Detroit coach Flip Saunders. “A lot of times
when you can close out games and you’re up in a series, and you play a young
team, you get them to the brink and sometimes say, ‘That’s enough.'”. The
Magic never did that today. That probably helped prepare us as much as
anything for the next series.”
Dwight Howard was a force, scoring a game-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting
and grabbing 17 rebounds. Grant Hill added 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and
Darko Milicic registered 14 points for the Magic, who went 0-8 against
Detroit in the regular season and playoffs this season.
“We take experience from it and that’s the biggest thing we take from it, is
experience,” said Orlando coach Brian Hill.
Detroit took the lead 87-86 for good on Hamilton’s jumper with 1:39 to go.
Billups then hit a driving layup before Hedo Turkoglu hit a bank shot, pulling
the Magic back to within one, 89-88 with 1:06 showing on the clock.
Hamilton hit another jumper with 42 ticks remaining and after Milicic missed a
jumper Hamilton made two free throws, giving the Pistons a 93-88 advantage
with 20 seconds showing on the clock.
J.J. Redick’s triple with 10 seconds left cut the margin to two, 93-91 but
Billups hit two from the charity stripe with eight seconds remaining, putting
Detroit ahead 95-91.
Billups and Hamilton scored Detroit’s final 12 points.
The Magic led 25-22 after the first quarter, their first lead at the end of
any period in the series.
Orlando extended the lead to 37-27 on Turkoglu jumper with 7:22 left in the
second period. Detroit, however, went on a 13-2 spurt, capped by a Webber dunk
which put the Pistons on top, 40-39.
Detroit held a 46-45 edge at the intermission. Hamilton finished the first
half with 11 points. Billups had 12 points and five assists.
The Pistons extended their lead to 73-67 heading into the final quarter.
Trailing 78-69, Orlando embarked on a 12-0 run, capped by a Milicic dunk,
giving the Magic a 81-78 edge with 4:46 left to play.
Detroit will play the winner of the Chicago-Miami series. The Bulls lead 3-0
heading into Game 4 on Sunday…No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0
deficit… Webber finished 1-of-6 from the free throw line.