for this game

Pistons edge Magic, take 2-0 lead in series

May 6, 2008 - 3:54 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons continue to have their way in the postseason with the Orlando Magic.

Chauncey Billups scored 28 points to lead all five starters in double figures as the Pistons held on for a 100-93 victory over the Magic in Game Two of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday.

Detroit has owned Orlando in the playoffs, winning nine straight meetings since their 2003 first-round series that saw the Magic hold a commanding 3-1 lead before losing the final three games.

The second-seeded Pistons own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and will look to extend their postseason winning streak to 10 over the Magic on Wednesday in Game Three at Orlando.

"We know it's going to be hard down there' but we've just got to go down and play and execute," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "I think we'll come out all right."

"We've got two games at home now," Magic center Dwight Howard said. "Cleveland was down like this to them last year."

Tayshaun Prince had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Wallace also scored 17 points for Detroit, which is just two games away from reaching the conference final for the sixth season in a row.

Jameer Nelson's 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled Orlando within 93-91. But the Magic lost their floor general on the next offensive possession, fouling out just 31 seconds later.

"In the fourth quarter we played great defense and we didn't do what we should have done offensively - we didn't move the ball - but our defense was huge and we got the stops when we needed them," Prince said.

"We had a great third quarter and got back in the game, but we didn't take care of the ball in the fourth," said Nelson, who hit three 3-pointers in the third. "We have to make more plays, but we definitely looked a lot more like ourselves."

Orlando made it a one-point deficit on Howard's tip-dunk at the 1:02 mark. But the Magic came away empty on several possessions, and the Pistons hit key free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

"We made some bad decisions and some tough shots down the stretch and got away from playing the way that we had played when things were going well," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "A little frustrating, but I think that our guys fought extremely hard, fought through some adversity, but just a very, very, very tough loss for us."

Tied at 29-29 after the first quarter, Detroit opened things up behind an impressive 13-2 surge that was capped by rookie Arron Afflalo's jumper at the 8:12 mark.

In a surprising move, Pistons coach Flip Saunders decided to go with his rookie backcourt of Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey for most of the quarter. They combined for seven points, three assists and two steals in 19 minutes in relief of Billups and Richard Hamilton.

"I think that says a little bit about their ability over the course of the year, them playing a lot and getting a lot of minutes and teammates having a comfort level with (Afflalo and Stuckey)," Saunders said. "They did a nice job."

"It's pretty rare to see rookies play like that in the playoffs," Billups said. "Rip (Hamilton) and I had a lot of energy down the stretch, so that was huge. With about 3:30 left, Flip wanted us to go back in, but we told him to let them play. They were making a run and doing the job."

The Pistons shot a sizzling 52 percent (21-of-40) from the floor en route to a 50-40 advantage at halftime. Prince and Wallace both poured in 12 points through the first two quarters.

However, Orlando battled back with a flurry of 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Making just 3-of-10 from long range in the opening half, the Magic drilled seven consecutive 3-pointers to forge a 68-65 lead with 3:59 remaining.

"That's the scary part of playing this team," Saunders said. "They go through runs of making threes where you're saying that it's never going to end."

"We knew that they're capable of making threes like that," Hamilton said. "The only thing we had to do was try to take away their dribble penetration and try to take away their corner threes. We kind of didn't do our job of doing that in the third quarter. They were knocking them down."

The quarter ended with a bit of controversy when Billups nailed a deep 3-pointer to give Detroit a 78-76 edge with 4.1 seconds left. But game officials failed to start the clock prior to the shot, upsetting Van Gundy even more.

"I knew there was five seconds, so we had to get something up," Billups said. "I saw the guys running at me, so I threw it to (Stuckey). I thought he had to shoot, but he saw there were four seconds left so he passed it back, but I didn't see the clock, so I just wanted to get it up. It's tough to be on the other side of something like that, but we'll take it."

"That's small stuff that we can't do anything about," Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu said. "We still had a chance after that. They made the call, and we had to move on. We have to forget about that. We've got to get ready to beat them on Wednesday."

Howard bounced back with 22 points and 18 boards and Nelson also scored 22 for Orlando, which shot 43 percent (32-of-73) and made 11-of-26 from 3-point range.

"I tried to be more aggressive on the glass," Howard said. "They can't double you there."