For three quarters, the Magic weren't just keeping up with the Pistons, they were better than them. But nursing a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Orlando's joy ride came sputtering to an end. On the heels of a 15-3 run to open the fourth, the Pistons outscored the Magic 27-18 in the final frame, pulling out their second win against Darko, Grant and Co. in three days.
Chris Webber played despite still suffering the effects of a scratched eye from Wednesday's game. In 32 minutes, he scored eight with five boards, shooting just 2-9 from the field. He had the worst night shooting from the field on the team, but Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace (each 3-9) weren't much better. In fact, the Pistons pulled out a win despite shooting just 39.4% for the night, as opposed to the Magic, who shot 46.8%. How did Detroit make up for such a frigid performance? Because they had ice water in their veins at the line: the team converted 32 of 37 tries (86.5%) from the charity stripe.
Chauncey Billups led the team with 28 points, Rip Hamilton chipped in 22 and Rasheed Wallace came through with a double-double (14 and 10). It's a good thing they were getting it done, because Tayshaun had a long night on both sides of the ball -- not only did he score just nine points with two boards, but he let Hedo Turkoglu light him up 20 points (five boards, three assists, three steals) on the other end.
Carlos Delfino grabbed seven boards, which apparently is a career-high. I was surprised to read that, since it seemed to me like he's always grabbing six or seven rebounds. Looking at his game log, though, he's tallied seven rebounds in a game six times this year, but has never grabbed eight boards. I'm rooting for him to top that mark in the final 28 games. He's only 6-6 and isn't a true banger in the paint, but (as you've heard me say countless times this year) he just has a nose for the ball.
For the second time this week, Darko Milicic did little to make the Pistons regret their decision trading him, scoring just eight points with six boards in 35 minutes. He's been better than that more often than not since moving into Orlando's starting lineup this month, but he came up short proving his worth against his former 'mates.
It's been seven years, but it's still a little weird seeing Grant Hill in another uniform -- especially the pinstriped throwbacks Orlando was sporting last night that left me looking for Scotty Skiles and a skinny Shaq. Maybe it's because in all this time he's played less than two full seasons due to injury.