Detroit 94, Orlando 89

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 23 (AP) -- His Detroit Pistons down five points in the third quarter, coach Flip Saunders was livid.

Saunders' screaming and wild gestures several feet onto the court earned him a technical foul, but it gave the Pistons the jolt they needed to pull out a 94-89 win against the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

"I think that kind of sparked us, sparked our team and put it into second gear for us,'' Tayshaun Prince said. "Sometimes it can be a downfall but I think tonight it was a perfect situation.''

Chauncey Billups scored 28 points and Richard Hamilton added 22, while Rasheed Wallace had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

It was the second time in three nights Detroit beat Orlando after a 110-88 victory on Wednesday. This time Orlando had a chance, but collapsed in the fourth quarter.

The Magic didn't score a field goal for the first 10:30 of the final period, squandering a 71-67 lead. When Grant Hill finally broke the slump with a jumper, Detroit was up 87-81 with 1:21 to play. The Pistons broke away with a 9-1 run in which Billups scored five.

"Once again, we committed too many turnovers in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line,'' Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We had six turnovers in that quarter. A couple of careless fouls which put them on the line for no reason at all, and you just can't do that against a team like this.''

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 and Hill had 15 for the Magic.

Chris Webber, playing after an accidental poke from Howard that scratched his left cornea Wednesday, had eight points and five rebounds.

Webber also picked up a technical in the third quarter during Saunders' outburst. Jameer Nelson made both free throws to put Orlando up 57-52 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.

Hamilton scored 11 straight points for Detroit from the end of the third to the beginning of the fourth, drawing Detroit within two points. Antonio McDyess' jumper tied the game at 71 with 10:15 left in the fourth, and Hamilton's 15-footer less than 45 seconds later put Detroit ahead for the first time since the 8:16 mark in the third.

"We knew we had to tighten up a little bit, because they came in fighting today with their backs against the wall,'' Billups said. "They took it a little personal with the way we beat them the other day.''

Detroit has won four straight on the road, and at 17-9 has the only winning road record in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons have won 11 of their past 12 games.

The loss was Orlando's third in a row, and moves the Magic two games under .500 at 27-29.

"We have to correct those mistakes down the stretch, but we competed,'' Grant Hill said. "If we do that for the rest of the way, then we give ourselves a chance.''

Notes: Orlando outscored Detroit 44-22 in the paint and outshot the Pistons 47 percent to 39 percent. ... Magic F Trevor Ariza, out since spraining his knee Jan. 10, was active but did not play.


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