Rasheed Wallace Leads Pistons Past Magic
Detroit 84, Orlando 73
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 10 (Ticker) -- Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton proved why they are headed to the All-Star Game.
Wallace scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and Hamilton contributed 23 as the Pistons posted an 84-73 triumph over the Orlando Magic, who lost for the seventh time in their last eight games.
"Rasheed's one of those guys that when he starts feeling it and hits a couple he can really make things happen," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Tonight, everybody did what they had to do. Chauncey distributed the ball. Rasheed hit 3-pointers and stretched the floor. Ben was great defensively. And Rip (Hamilton) got us going offensively."
With the announcement of the reserves, the league-leading Pistons (41-8) have their most players in the All-Star Game since Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas were nominated to the team back in 1992.
"I think what it says about us having four guys on the All-Star team is that the coaches around the league show their appreciation for our unselfishness, great attitudes and team basketball," Pistons president of basketball operations Dumars said. "That's what we've been preaching for five or six years. This is the way to do it."
The Pistons held a 38-37 edge at intermission before taking control by opening the third quarter on a 14-4 run. Rasheed Wallace and Hamilton combined to score 12 points during the surge.
"One of the coaches told me that I was shooting with my legs stiff," said Rasheed Wallace, who made 5-of-13 from the arc. "He said to go ahead and get a little bit of rhythm, a little bit a bounce in my legs. That's all it pretty much was."
"They (Detroit) decided to start the second half the way they wanted to," said Orlando forward Dwight Howard, who collected 19 points and 17 rebounds. "They just attacked and that was the biggest thing. And Rasheed was on fire in the second half. That was the difference for them in the second half."
Holding a 62-54 lead after three quarters, the Pistons scored the first 10 points of the final period. Rasheed Wallace nailed his fourth 3-pointer at the 8:29 mark to cap the burst.
"That was typical Pistons' basketball," said Billups, who had 11 points and 14 assists. "We got what we wanted and tightened up on our defense, started taking some things away from them and the ball started going in. We just sort of willed our way."
Ben Wallace pulled down 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who shot 45 percent (10-of-22) from the arc and forced 17 turnovers.
"The key to our success is everybody going out and playing their role," said Ben Wallace. "No one's going out and doing it all by themselves. And we don't overreact to runs that other teams make. We stay poised."
Hedo Turkoglu scored 17 points and DeShawn Stevenson added 10 for Orlando, which shot 45 percent (31-of-68) overall.