AUBURN HILLS, Mich, May 2 (Ticker) -- Jerry Stackhouse was on his way to one of the great flops in playoff history until he decided to do something about it.

Stackhouse's go-ahead lane jumper with 1:43 remaining -- his first basket of the game -- lifted the Detroit Pistons to an 85-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors and their first playoff series victory in 11 years.

The second-seeded Pistons won the Eastern Conference first-round series in five ugly, hard-fought games. They await the winner of the Boston-Philadelphia series, with Game One on Sunday at Detroit.

"A lot of people picked us to finish last in the East, so to advance through to the second round is great," said Pistons forward Corliss Williamson. "If we continue to work hard, there's no telling how far we can go."

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Time and time again, Corliss Williamson came up huge for the Pistons on Thursday night.
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In a pair of losses in Toronto, Stackhouse scored just 26 points on 8-of-28 shooting. The poor play carried into this contest as Detroit's leading scorer missed his first eight shots and the Pistons found themselves trailing late by four points with less than four minutes to go.

Detroit battled back for a 79-79 tie and went to Stackhouse, who dribbled left to right into the lane, pulled up and sank a 12-foot jumper over Chris Childs that gave the Pistons the lead for good.

"I knew Stack would hit a big shot sometime," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "He got an angle on Childs. That was a huge basket."

"Rick knew I was struggling but he gave me the chance," Stackhouse said. "I finally got it to go down. It was the only shot that mattered."

Neither team scored for over a minute and the Raptors deflected a pass out of bounds, leaving the Pistons just two seconds on the shot clock. After a timeout, Stackhouse inbounded from underneath the basket to Williamson, who had muscled inside of Jerome Williams. Williamson's layup gave Detroit an 83-79 lead with 26 seconds to go.

"I told him I was coming to him and we he came off that curl, he was going to get it," Stackhouse said.

"It was a battle of wills and Corliss had a strong will tonight," Carlisle said.

Childs stepped out of bounds with 22 seconds left, but the Pistons still were not clear. The Raptors twice fouled Stackhouse, who had been 31-of-32 from the line in the series. However, he split the pair of shots both times.

In between, Toronto got a 3-pointer from Dell Curry. After Stackhouse's second free throws with 10.7 seconds to go, the Raptors had a chance to tie. But Childs forced a running 3-pointer trying to draw a foul and the Pistons rebounded and dribbled out the clock.

Detroit had lost six straight playoff series since beating Boston in the 1991 conference semifinals, the last days of the "Bad Boys." For stretches of this series, however, the Pistons were just bad.

"It was big for us to get through this series. It's new to a lot of them," Carlisle said. "Stack has had playoff experience, but I don't think he's had a Game Five of a deciding series. I think this will settle us down for the next series. Everybody, not just Stack."

Stackhouse scored just five points on 1-of-10 shooting. He got help from Williamson, the Sixth Man Award winner who scored 23 on 10-of-15 from the field.

"There just weren't any lanes opening up for me to get my shots," said Stackhouse, who had seven assists. "So I tried to focus on creating and playing defense."

"Jerry's hit big shots all year," Williamson said. "Even if he struggles for three quarters, we have a lot of confidence in him. That's what happens. All of a sudden he shows up and makes a big shot. He's been our leader all season."

The Raptors played the last six weeks without their leader, injured superstar guard Vince Carter. After losing 17 of 18, they won 12 of their last 14 without Carter to make the playoffs, then nearly upended the Pistons.

"When we look back on the season, we'll see that maybe we should have done things better early," Childs said. "We have to make sure next year we don't put ourselves in this position."

"I learned so much about what the game is about this season," Raptors forward Antonio Davis said. "You have to prepare your mind as well as your body. This showed us how important it is to be playing at home. If the situation had been the other way around, I'm sure we'd be the ones moving on."

Curry scored 14 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. He had scored 11 points in the first four games of the series. Childs scored 16 points and Keon Clark added 15 for Toronto.

A jumper by Childs tied it, 73-73, and Curry made a jumper and two free throws for a four-point lead with 3:36 remaining. Clifford Robinson, who scored 13 points, drew fouls on consecutive possessions and made all four free throws to tie it with 3:01 to go.

Childs drove for a layup and the Raptors fouled Ben Wallace on an offensive rebound. But the 42 percent free throw shooter, who had made just 2-of-8 from the line to that point, sank both to tie it, 79-79, with 2:01 left.

"It's been a tough series," Stackhouse said. "They took us to the brink but our guys stepped up and played when we had to."

Chucky Atkins scored 14 points and Jon Barry added 12 for the Pistons, who shot 44 percent (31-of-70) and surrendered just six points on 12 turnovers.

Alvin Williams scored 10 points and Davis added nine and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who shot 42 percent (30-of-72) and gave up 15 points on 18 turnovers.

"We had opportunities down the stretch, but they capitalized on their opportunities," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We didn't shoot well. In this game, we turned it over. A lot of our turnovers were in trying to force a pass. It came down to some little minute things."

The Raptors carried the momentum of the previous two games and opened a 24-15 lead late in the first quarter before Williamson and Barry came off the bench to score Detroit's next 21 points, closing the deficit to 37-36.

"I thought the tempo picked up when Jon Barry and Corliss got in there," Carlisle said.

Toronto held a 48-46 halftime edge but scored just 11 points in the third quarter and trailed, 63-59, entering the final period.