Orlando 103, Detroit 85

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 19 (AP) -- A blowout at the Palace of Auburn Hills is nothing new.

The surprise Tuesday night was that it was the Pistons getting routed. Detroit trailed the Orlando Magic by as many as 26 points and its 10-game winning streak was snapped with a 103-85 loss.

"I certainly didn't foresee that happening,'' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "A lot has to go right for us to beat the Pistons like that, especially on a night when Dwight Howard scores eight points and Hedo Turkoglu goes 4-for-13.''

Detroit extended its win streak to double digits with a lopsided victory over Indiana on Feb. 13, but knew it would be tough to keep its intensity through the All-Star break.

"You hate having a break when you are on a winning streak, because it messes with your momentum,'' Chauncey Billups said. "That's not an excuse, because we feel like we should have come in here and played better than that. No one likes losing like this.''

The Pistons looked fine early in the game. On the first possession, Rasheed Wallace blocked a dunk attempt by Howard, his All-Star teammate and the new dunk champion.

Detroit, though, couldn't stop Orlando's outside game. The Magic shot 65 percent on 3-pointers in the game, hitting 13-of-20.

"We started the game saying we didn't want to let Dwight dunk, but you can't take away dunks and 3-pointers,'' Billups said. "You've got to give up something. They got hot and stayed hot.''

The Magic outscored Detroit 63-37 over the second and third periods, shooting 56 percent and holding the Pistons to 24 percent.

"We played a good second quarter and a great third quarter,'' Van Gundy said. "We knocked down a lot of shots, but it was our defense that stepped up.''

Howard didn't have a great statistical night, but Van Gundy felt he was the difference in the game, especially in Detroit's 17-point third quarter.

"Dwight had eight points and eight rebounds, and there's been other nights when he's gone 20-20, but this might have been his best game of the season,'' he said. "In the third quarter, he made it virtually impossible for Detroit to get any offense going inside. He changed every shot.''

Howard said that his 2-of-9 shooting night, starting with Wallace's blocked dunk in the first 20 seconds, spurred him to a better night defensively.

"I wasn't able to get anything going offensively, so I knew I needed to pick it up on the other end,'' he said. "I guess it worked.''

The Magic had been the last team to beat Detroit, winning 102-100 at home on Jan. 21. The Pistons avenged the loss four days later, but couldn't do it again Tuesday.

"We should have played harder than this,'' said Detroit coach Flip Saunders. "We didn't need to come out and lay an egg like that in the second half.''

Even though they are the only team to beat Detroit in the last month, and they've now done it twice, Van Gundy doesn't think the Magic will have any advantage in a possible postseason matchup.

"This is big for our guys, because we know how good that team is,'' he said. "But this is only the regular season. Detroit has been through the wars, and we'll have to play at a much higher level than this to beat them in the playoffs.''

Former Piston Maurice Evans added 16 points for the Magic, including eight in a 14-3 run that helped Orlando put the game away in the third quarter. Orlando finished with six players in double figures.

Rookie Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 16 points, but only two of Detroit's starters scored 10 or more. Richard Hamilton had 12 and Wallace 10.

Notes: The band Bon Jovi was in attendance, one night before performing at the Palace, and was honored as part of the arena's 20th anniversary celebration. ... Billups, Detroit's third All-Star, finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting. ... Stuckey has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games.

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