for this game

Pistons snap Magic's seven-game winning streak

Dec 30, 2008 - 4:57 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The NBA's finest don't faze the Detroit Pistons this season.

Antonio McDyess scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter Monday to lead Detroit to an 88-82 victory over streaking Orlando, which had its winning streak snapped at seven.

Earlier this season, the Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers, Cavaliers and Magic have lost a combined total of 16 games this season.

"We feel like we're the better team, no matter who we play," said Pistons guard Allen Iverson. "If you don't feel that way, then there's no need to lace up your sneakers.

"But a win like this does give us confidence. They're a good team. They've won that many in a row, and we were able to get it done."

Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19 points and Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace contributed 16 apiece to a balanced attack. The Pistons have won four in a row.

Rashard Lewis scored 23 points and Dwight Howard added 18 - all but one in the second half- and 18 rebounds.

The game had the feel of a playoff game. Detroit has eliminated Orlando in the postseason the last two years.

"I thought there was a lot of emotion in this game," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "This is what the NBA is all about. They played well and this was a great game for us."

The Pistons were without starting small forward Richard Hamilton, who missed his second straight game with a left groin strain. Hamilton is second on the team in scoring with a 17.2 average.

The Magic lost guard Mickael Pietrus early in the second quarter when he suffered a sprained right wrist in a mid-air collision with Detroit's Jason Maxiell.

Orlando tied the game at 77-77 in the fourth quarter on a four-point play by Lewis, who was fouled by Maxiell as he hit a 3-pointer with 6:07 left. He then converted the free throw.

The Pistons broke the tie with a pair of free throws by McDyess, who scored nine points in the fourth quarter, despite taking a shot to the ribs in a collision with Courtney Lee.

Wallace, who was hit with his 11th technical foul of the season moments before, drilled a 3-pointer to put Detroit ahead 82-77 with 4:03 left.

McDyess split a pair of free throws, beat the shot clock with a 19-foot jumper and then fed Allen Iverson with a pass for a basket with 1:11 remaining to give the Pistons an 87-80 lead.

"That's what we were waiting for when he was sitting at home for 30 days," Iverson said. "He gives us a big lift on both ends with his toughness. He did it all tonight."

The victory helped ease some of McDyess' pain in his ribs - but not all.

"It's horrible. I can't bend down," he said. "That's a pretty bruise. The last game it was my thigh. I think my ribs have made me forget about that part."

McDyess said he never considered not returning to the game.

"I know they needed me," he said. "With the way they guard us, to spread the floor, get jump shots and get 'Sheed rest on the floor. There was no doubt in my mind I was going to come back.

"I knew we needed this win. I just sucked it up and went back out there."

In addition to his 11 points, McDyess had eight rebounds and a season-high five assists. He was part of the trade that brought Iverson to Detroit from Denver. McDyess was released by the Nuggets but couldn't re-sign with the Pistons for a month.

"I was surprised to be in the game because we played only 18 good minutes - the first 18 minutes of the second half to get it tied," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said.

"We did a great job coming back and getting into it. We've finished games well all year, but you aren't going to do it well all the time, and we didn't do it tonight."

Lewis gave Detroit credit for the Magic's woes on the offensive end. Orlando came into the contest averaging better than 101.0 points.

"We played their style of ball tonight," Lewis said. "They slowed the game down on us and made us play half-court basketball. We didn't get any fast-break points or any easy baskets. They made it tough on us all night."

The Pistons pulled away from a 19-19 tie with a 16-4 run that bridged the first and second quarters.

Detroit closed out the first quarter with five straight free throws, then Maxiell came off the bench to begin the second quarter with a pair of baskets.

Stuckey ended the spurt with a three-point play that put the Pistons ahead 35-23 with 8:49 remaining in the first half.

Stuckey and Prince combined for 23 points in the first half for Detroit, which led 52-43 at the break.

Hedo Turkoglu kept the Magic close in the second quarter with nine of his 11 first-half points. Howard scored only one point and was 0-of-4 from the field in the first half, although Orlando's center had nine rebounds.

The Magic came out strong to begin the second half. Led by Howard's nine points, Orlando went on a 14-5 run and tied the game at 57-57 on a pair of free throws by Howard with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

Iverson scored five points in the last 3:15 of the third quarter to send Detroit into the fourth quarter with a 72-66 advantage.

"We started the third quarter slow, but we got it back together," Stuckey said. "It was a good win for us. We're just trying to play better defense. The offense will take care of itself. We know we can score."

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