ORLANDO, Fla., April 27 (Ticker) -- Drew Gooden
and Darrell Armstrong
heard Tracy McGrady's
plea for help, and the Orlando Magic are
one win away from advancing in the playoffs.
NBA TV highlights from|
Play of the Day:
McGrady scored seven of his 27 points during a decisive
third-quarter run and Gooden and Armstrong combined for 38,
leading the Magic to a 100-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons
in Game Four of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
McGrady scored 89 points in the first two games of the series
but criticized his teammates following a Game Two loss after
scoring 46 of Orlando's 77 points.
Armstrong and Gooden scored 35 points en route to a victory in
Game Three and were even better in this one. Gooden had a
playoff career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds and Armstrong
scored 18 as the Magic took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven
"There's lots of heart on this team," McGrady said. "It starts
with Darrell Armstrong, and those guys believe. When you've got
a bunch of guys that will battle with you no matter what, you've
just got to respect that."
"I've got to help T-Mac, I'm a veteran," said Armstrong, who
made 6-of-6 shots and 4-of-5 free throws off the bench. "I've
been through the playoffs, I've been through the tough times,
the tough games. It's time for me to step up also. But we've
been doing it as a team, and that's the fun thing."
The Magic are on the brink of winning their first postseason
series since 1996, which was the last time they made it past the
"I'm just trying to get this franchise back on track, like it
was when I was a young fellow watching Shaq (O'Neal) and Penny
(Hardaway) here," said McGrady, who had a playoff career-high
nine assists and five steals. "There is a lot of energy in this
building and I'm going to try to keep it here."
Detroit made an 11-3 run and had a 65-61 lead after Ben
Wallace's shot with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter, but did
not make another basket until the fourth.
Pistons guard Richard Hamilton made a runner 23 seconds later
but was called for an offensive foul that seemed to change the
momentum. Armstrong buried a jumper at the other end to spark a
Orlando reeled off 18 consecutive points, highlighted by seven
from McGrady, who had a jumper, a 3-pointer and two free throws
during the spurt.
Gooden and Armstrong added four points apiece during the
decisive stretch, which gave the Magic a 79-65 cushion with 54
The Pistons did not get closer than double digits until the
final minutes and lost their 12th consecutive postseason road
Gordan Giricek scored 10 points and Andrew DeClerq added nine
and a playoff career-high nine rebounds for Orlando, which shot
50 percent (32-of-64) from the floor.
Chauncey Billups tied his playoff career high with 25 points and
Wallace had 12 and 24 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards,
for Detroit, which lost despite a 43-34 rebounding advantage.
Clifford Robinson had 14 points but Hamilton was held to just
five on 2-of-11 shooting.
"We have nothing left but fight," Billups said. "We have our
backs up against the wall now and we do have a lot of fight.
It's not the best of situations, but the good thing is we get to
go home in front of our crowd."
The Pistons host Game Five on Wednesday.
"It isn't over until they win four games," Detroit's Chucky
Atkins said. If we don't play better, then yeah, it's over. We
haven't even started playing basketball yet. I am sick of it.
This isn't basketball we're playing."