AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 30 (Ticker) --
The Detroit Pistons finally
played like a top seed.
NBA TV highlights from|
scored 24 points and Ben Wallace
added 14 and
21 rebounds as the Pistons manhandled the Orlando Magic, 98-67,
to avoid elimination in their Eastern Conference first-round
Rookie Tayshaun Prince
chipped in a season-high 15 points and
also scored 15 for the Pistons, who never
trailed as they climbed within 3-2 in their best-of-seven series
against the eighth-seeded Magic.
"Well, (there's) not a lot to say except we got our butts kicked
tonight," Pistons coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought they were
the more aggressive basketball team. I thought they deserved to
win tonight. I thought they were more physical and they
basically took it to us throughout the game."
The 1994 Seattle SuperSonics and the 1999 Miami Heat are the
only top-seeded teams in NBA history to lose in the first round,
both in best-of-five series.
"I knew our guys were going to play," Pistons coach Rick
Carlisle said. "There was just no question in my mind. Ben has
been in an ornery mood since the weekend and justifiably so."
Detroit jumped out to a 26-13 advantage after one quarter and
took a 37-15 lead on a jumper and free throw by Prince with 9:15
left in the second period.
"This time we came out with a lot of energy," Wallace said. "The
way we came out tonight, we forced their team to defend us. Get
down on defense, and making things tough for them. As long as
we keep that energy while the game goes it will be tough to beat
Orlando climbed within 50-37 at the half and 59-51 on a dunk by
five minutes into the third quarter.
But the Pistons countered with a 14-0 run over the next 3 1/2
minutes to blow open the game. They continued to pull away and
their largest lead Detroit was the final score.
"We've had a quick start all series and it hasn't done us any
good," Hamilton said. "We have to sustain it like we did
"We didn't stop Rip Hamilton, we didn't stop nobody," said Magic
guard Darrell Armstrong
, who scored just three points. "We
didn't stop Chauncey Billups, we didn't stop nobody. If the
coach could have taken a shot, we probably wouldn't have stopped
him tonight. It's got to be about our defense and it wasn't
scored 19 points for the Magic, who shot just 32
percent (24-of-75) from the field. Dating to the regular
season, it was just the second time in 56 games that McGrady,
the league's leading scorer at 32 points per game, failed to
reach 20 points.
"It was one of those nights when I would penetrate to try and
make things happen," McGrady said. "I had no choice but to kick
it out and find my guys. The thing tonight is that the shots
weren't falling for us."
It was the Magic's worst postseason defeat since a 99-64 setback
to Miami in a first-round matchup on April 24, 1997.
"Tonight was tonight," Armstrong said. "They whipped our
(butts) tonight. They can't take them points that they won by
and add it to the next game. Zero-zero when you start out."
Game Six is Friday in Orlando.
"This is the playoffs. It ain't made to be easy," Gooden said.
"It ain't no cakewalk. Eight seed playing the No. 1 seed, so
we're going to expect some ups and downs in this playoff series.
Luckily we're up 3-2, and we play at home the next game and
hopefully we can wrap it up."
"The reality is we are one road win from getting our home-court
advantage back, and the goal tonight was to put ourselves in
that position and we have," Carlisle said. "And now we have an
opportunity, so we're looking forward to that."