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Detroit 89, Orlando 77
T-Mac Scores Big, But Pistons Win Game 2

Chauncey Billups scored 15 points in Detroit's Game 2 victory.
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons could not stop Tracy McGrady, but they had no problem shutting down his Orlando Magic teammates.

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Richard Hamilton scored 30 points and the Pistons overcame another record-setting performance by McGrady to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at one game apiece with an 89-77 victory.

McGrady, the NBA scoring champion, poured in a team playoff-record 43 points to lead the Magic to a 99-94 victory in Game One. He was even better in this one as he scored 46 points, making 16-of-26 shots from the field and 10-of-11 from the line.

But McGrady received little help from his supporting cast, which combined for just 31 points on 11-of-42 shooting.

"If I had one other guy going, I think it would've been a different game," McGrady said. "Those guys did a great job of not letting anybody else get off. Their defensive strategy was to let T-Mac get his but shut everybody else down."

"Tracy was awesome. We obviously need to do a better job getting more guys involved," Magic coach Doc Rivers added. "We had 14, 15 opportunities where our other guys had to step up and instead of taking shots, they put it back on the floor and went to Tracy."

Pistons forward Clifford Robinson also spoke of containing McGrady's teammates.

"He's a great player and you know he's going to get going at some point during the game," said Robinson, who guarded McGrady at times. "We did a really good job of taking the other guys out. If we keep doing that, we'll be in good shape."

Hamilton led a balanced attack for the Pistons, who placed five players in double figures. Detroit never trailed and led by as many as 22 points in the first half, when they played like the conference's top seed.

"Everybody helps everybody out and everybody knows their place," Hamilton said. "If we do the little things, we win basketball games. In Game One, we didn't pressure the ball at the beginning of the game and Orlando pressured us. Tonight, we really wanted to get up in them and make them make decisions. We did a great job of doing that."

Ben Wallace, who was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season before the game, led the Pistons with 16 rebounds.

Game Three is Friday in Orlando.

Playing with a sense of desperation, the Pistons came out with some fire as Wallace started the contest with a thunderous dunk. They closed the first quarter with a 21-6 run, capped by Hamilton's jumper with two-tenths of a second remaining for a 31-14 cushion.

"I just wanted to go out there with a lot of energy and make things happen," Wallace said. "I thought I was going to lead by example, but the guys already were ready. I actually had to catch up to them. We just went out there and played hard."

Hamilton followed up a strong performance in Game One, when he scored 28 points, by netting 13 in the opening quarter. He did most of his scoring away from the basket.

The Pistons looked like they would turn the game into a rout, taking their largest lead at 41-19 with 9:12 left in the first half on Jon Barry's 3-pointer. But the Pistons went cold from the field, allowing the Magic to get back in it.

After using variety of defenders on McGrady in the opener, the Pistons employed the same strategy in this one. McGrady scored eight points in the first quarter and looked unstoppable in the second.

Following Barry's basket, McGrady scored six straight points in a little over a minute and 14 in a 16-3 surge that pulled the Magic within 43-35 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.

McGrady netted 24 points - eight more than his teammates - by halftime, making 10-of-14 shots. His teammates were just 5-of-22 from the field over the same stretch.

Hamilton nearly kept pace as he scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the opening two quarters. He scored six points in an 11-5 run to close the half, giving the Pistons a 54-40 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Pistons switched up on McGrady with more success, putting 6-9 rookie Tayshaun Prince on him at times.

"I just tried to crowd him and follow him around the court," Prince said. "I just tried to be in his jersey and be wherever he went. You have to throw different people at him. Michael (Curry) did a nice job of guarding him and then Corliss (Williamson) and Cliff had the opportunity. When you have a player like McGrady, that's what you have to do. You have to bring different and bring energy."

"Tayshaun made a huge difference for us in the second half," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle added. "His lenghth was a factor. He will be a huge factor as we continue on through the series."

Unlike McGrady, Hamilton got some help from his teammates. Backcourt mate Chauncey Billups scored 15 points, Williamson had 13 and Wallace and Clifford Robinson 10 apiece.

A jumper by McGrady early in the third quarter cut the Magic's deficit under double digits. They closed to 65-57 with 3:10 left in third quarter on a three-point play by Andrew DeClercq, who had nine points - the next highest total behind McGrady.

Chris Whitney made a basket 18 seconds into the fourth quarter, pulling the Magic within 70-63. But Prince converted two foul shots and Williamson scored the next four points, making it 76-63 with 8:48 to play.

The Pistons led by double digits the rest of the way as the Magic were unable to rally. McGrady, who played 46 minutes, seemed to tire down the stretch while his teammates continued to struggle.

"I put it on myself every time we lose," McGrady said. "Those are my guys. I won that first game with those guys and it was just two of us in double figures. Tonight was just me in double figures. We definitely have to look over some film and see what we can do to get other guys involved."

Orlando shot just 40 percent (27-of-68) and made 4-of-17 attempts from 3-point range. Detroit connected at 42.5 percent (31-of-73) from the field and held a 47-30 rebounding advantage.



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