Pistons Beat Magic

By: AP
By: AP

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace stole a pass on the opening possession against the Orlando Magic. In the first 2 1/2 minutes, the Detroit Pistons' forward scored seven points, blocked a shot and grabbed a rebound.
When Wallace's pace slowed, Richard Hamilton picked up the slack.
Hamilton scored 32 points and Wallace had 13 of his 15 in the first quarter, helping the Pistons build a big lead that allowed them to coast in a 101-93 win over Orlando on Friday night.
"When Rasheed plays with energy and is ready to exploit mismatches, I don't think anybody can guard him," said Detroit's Chauncey Billups, who had 21 points and six assists.
Wallace's start impressed Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, too.
"He essentially won the game for them in the first quarter," Van Gundy said. "He took the rest of the night off, at least offensively, but the game was over and they were cruising."
The Central Division-leading Pistons were dominant in the first half, setting up their second straight win after dropping a season-high three in a row -- including a loss at Orlando -- and six of nine games.
Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 for the Southeast Division-leading Magic, who had won three straight.
"That's a veteran team with a lot of pride and we just beat them," Van Gundy said. "I don't know what our guys were expecting from the Pistons, but we certainly weren't ready for them."
The rest of the Pistons started strong, too, combining to make 77 percent of their shots as they scored a season-high 39 points in the first quarter.
"The first quarter was as bad as it gets for us," Van Gundy said.
Hamilton scored 14 of Detroit's 29 points in the second quarter, helping the Pistons score a season-high 68 points at halftime.
"I didn't see one guy that played well in the first half," Van Gundy said. "They had 11 offensive rebounds and we had eight defensive rebounds. When a team is getting 60 percent of their own misses, that's beyond embarrassing."
Orlando gave up more points in the first quarter and half than they had previously this season.
The Magic went on a 13-0 run late in the third quarter and pulled to 85-73, then hung around in the fourth without truly threatening to come back.
"We got lazy the second half," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "It's very difficult when you're up, when you play as well as we did and basically get what you want."
Billups was not surprised or alarmed that Detroit's starters had to play late in the game to hold off the Magic.
"Good teams are going to cut into a lead," he said. "We just had to get the guys back out there to settle things down."
Antonio McDyess had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Wallace's production fell off after his sensational start.
He went to the bench with four fouls at the 3:58 mark of the third quarter. After he was called for a fifth foul with 8:04 left in the game, he was called for a technical for arguing. He fouled out late in the game.
Orlando's Rashard Lewis had a lackluster game, missing 12 of 15 shots and scoring 13 points. Carlos Arroyo had 16 points and reserve Keith Bogans added 10.
"They jumped us early and then we had to chase them all night," Turkoglu said. "Take out the first quarter, and we're right there."
Orlando got an injury scare from Keyon Dooling in the second quarter.
The reserve guard bruised his right knee in the opening minute and was helped off the court, walking gingerly toward the locker room. Dooling returned late in the third quarter and started the fourth.
Notes:@ Saunders won his 148th game with the Pistons, trailing only Chuck Daly's franchise record of 467 wins. ... Orlando PG Jameer Nelson (right foot) missed the game and is day to day. ... Arroyo and Maurice Evans, former Pistons, were in Orlando's starting lineup. ... Detroit leads the season series 2-1 with one scheduled remaining on Feb. 19 at home. ... Detroit is 4 1/2 games ahead of Orlando for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. ... Faces in the crowd included Tigers CF Curtis Granderson and P Dontrelle Willis along with Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard.


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