Time to start a new topic! 2003 Playoffs, first round, Magic (8) vs Pistons (1). Highlights from all 7 games are coming! Stay tuned because it was a really 'Magical' battle.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic, a one-man show? Hardly.
Two days after being collectively outscored by teammate Tracy McGrady, Orlando's supporting cast provided the superstar guard with the help he needed as the Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons 89-80 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Backing up McGrady's 29 points was Darrell Armstrong's 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Drew Gooden's 15 points and seven rebounds. Gordan Giricek snapped out of a slump to score 10 points, all in a crucial third-quarter burst.
"For those guys to play like that, man, that can carry us a long way in the playoffs,'' said McGrady, who fell short of a third straight 40-point game. "I told them (Thursday) to go out there and play the game, don't change it for me. And they did a great job of that.
"If they continue to play like that, I really don't have to do much.''
In a loss at Detroit on Wednesday, McGrady had 46 points and everyone else 31. That embarrassment made the Game 3 victory sweeter for Armstrong.
"It's ridiculous when you hear people talk about this is a one-man team,'' said Armstrong, who made his first five shots. "He's definitely our guy, definitely the guy who got us here -- but other guys are setting picks to get him open, too.''
For Detroit, Richard Hamilton scored 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting while Corliss Williamson added 16 off the bench. Ben Wallace set a playoff career-best with 22 rebounds.
The Pistons shot 39 percent while turning the ball over 16 times and having seven shots blocked. Point guard Chauncey Billups, who bruised his left thigh in the third quarter, was held to five points with five turnovers against two assists.
"You're not going to beat a team like Orlando if you can't hold them down to somewhere in the low to mid-40s (shooting percentage,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "They ended up shooting 48 for the game, which is a losing number for us.''
Orlando forged a 63-54 lead midway through the third quarter when, on consecutive possessions, Giricek hit a 3-pointer, Gooden banked in a heave while being knocked down and Giricek hit another 3 and a jumper. His shots snapped his 1-for-14 skid following a series-opening basket last Sunday, and his teammates mobbed him in joy when the Pistons called timeout.
"A lot of it is confidence,'' said Giricek, who was slumping entering the playoffs. "I finally made a shot, then two, then three, and then you know you have your confidence back.''
Fueling Orlando's 10-0 breakout was Armstrong's on-the-ball defense to force four straight turnovers. The Magic soon extended their lead to 67-56, and the Pistons never came within six points from there.
In the second half, Detroit shot 32 percent with 11 turnovers. The Pistons were so inept on offense, they only outscored Orlando by a point in the fourth quarter despite holding the Magic to two field goals
"We probably stopped doing the little things, helping each other get open, getting something on the weak side and things like that,'' said Hamilton, who shot 2-for-11 after the break.
Orlando tried to get McGrady's teammates involved early through a deliberate style, out of character for the East's second-most potent offense. The halfcourt sets failed more often than not, and in the opening six minutes the Magic had five turnovers and McGrady had only one shot as they fell behind 15-6.
Hamilton, meanwhile, got off to a good start for the second straight game. Shooting over the Magic's shorter guards, Hamilton had 13 points in the quarter as Detroit led 29-19 at the period's end.
Despite the Magic's early troubles scoring, shooting wasn't a problem -- and that's what carried them to a 48-46 halftime lead. Orlando made 12 of its first 17 shots in the second quarter, with Gooden making four straight to give him six consecutive for the half.
McGrady had 14 points in the half, and with his teammates finally making shots, he added four assists -- equaling his total from the previous two games.
Jacque Vaughn drew a flagrant foul late in the first quarter when he yanked Wallace to the floor. Two periods later, Wallace was hit with a technical for arguing a foul call. ... McGrady's first two games were the third and fourth-highest point totals against a No. 1 seed since the NBA went to a 16-team format in 1984. Michael Jordan scored 63 and 49 points against Boston in 1986. ... When McGrady was the only Orlando player to score in double figures in Game 2, it marked only the ninth time in NBA playoff history that just one player from a team had topped 10 points.