Final

Detroit wins series 4-3 (Game 1 of 7)

Detroit wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, April 20th
Magic99Final
Pistons94
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23rd
Magic77Final
Pistons89
Game 3: Friday, April 25th
Pistons80Final
Magic89
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Pistons92Final
Magic100
Game 5: Wednesday, April 30th
Magic67Final
Pistons98
Game 6: Friday, May 2nd
Pistons103Final
Magic88
Game 7: Sunday, May 4th
Magic93Final
Pistons108

Magic 99

(42-40, 16-25 away)

Pistons 94

(50-32, 30-11 home)

    12:30 PM ET, April 20, 2003

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 24 25 27 2399
    DET 19 21 32 2294

    Top Performers

    Orl: T. McGrady 43 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Det: C. Billups 21 Pts, 9 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    McGrady sets team playoff record with 43

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady made the NBA's best defense look bad.

    McGrady set a team playoff record with 43 points to help the Orlando Magic hold off the top-seeded Detroit Pistons 99-94 Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference series.

    "This guy is arguably the best player on the planet,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "We know that, and we know he is going to score some points and do some spectacular things. But if he goes for 40-plus in every game, it's going to be really hard for us.''

    Six Pistons tried to guard the NBA's leading scorer, who was 15-of-28 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line.

    It was a particularly impressive effort considering that Detroit allowed opponents just 87.7 points per game this season. No other team's average was under 90.

    "I felt like I could get any shot,'' McGrady said.

    Eighth-seeded Orlando led by 11 points with 5:22 left, but Detroit's 14-4 run pulled it to 94-93 with about a minute to go.

    "If we play with the same urgency in the first quarter that we had in the fourth, we win this game easy,'' said Detroit's Ben Wallace, who played 42 minutes after missing two weeks with an injured left knee.

    McGrady -- whose 32.1-point average this season was the highest of his five-year NBA career -- made two free throws with 46.5 seconds left. After Detroit missed two shots in the lane, Orlando's Gordan Giricek added two free throws, and McGrady scored the last point to surpass the Magic playoff scoring record he shared with Penny Hardaway.

    Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Detroit. The last time the Magic advanced in the playoffs, in 1996, they swept the Pistons in the first round.

    Orlando rookie Drew Gooden had 18 points and 14 rebounds.

    Detroit's Richard Hamilton scored 28 points in his playoff debut. Chauncey Billups scored 21, and Cliff Robinson added 19. Wallace had 13 rebounds, seven points and three blocks.

    Chucky Atkins -- who like Wallace, joined Detroit in the trade that sent Grant Hill to the Magic -- made back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter and to start the fourth to cut Detroit's deficit to 76-75.

    That's when McGrady took over with a personal 10-0 burst.

    The right-handed swingman made a three-point play on a left-handed shot, a 3-pointer, two free throws and a left-handed finger roll to put the Magic ahead 86-75.

    "He made some tough shots. That's what superstars do,'' Wallace said. "They make plays in big games.''

    Orlando had two other 11-point leads before Detroit made its comeback.

    The Pistons, who made just 31.6 percent of their shots, would have been routed if it weren't for their frequent trips, and success, at the free throw line. They made 40 of 47 free throws, while Orlando made 22 of 25.

    Detroit missed 18 of its first 22 field-goal attempts.

    The Magic proved they were more than just a one-man show in the first half.

    When McGrady left the game late in the first quarter, the Magic went on an 11-4 run to take a 30-21 lead. When he came back with 7½ minutes before halftime, Orlando was ahead by seven.

    McGrady made a jaw-dropping play two minutes later. He drove past Robinson on the left wing and was fouled by Jon Barry before dunking over the 7-foot Mehmet Okur. McGrady completed the three-point play to put Orlando ahead 39-27, its biggest lead.

    The 6-foot-8 McGrady, who's 23, was asked what it was like to be allowed to go one-on-one against Robinson, who is 6-10 and 36.

    "When I'm feeling good and my jumper is falling,'' McGrady said, "he's pretty much at my mercy.''

    Game notes


    LeBron James, the prep star who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, attended his first NBA playoff game. He smiled from his front row seat when McGrady soared for his first-half dunk several feet away. "That was nice,'' James said with a smile. "I can't do that.'' ... Hill wasn't at the game because coach Doc Rivers said it would be a distraction. Hill had a fourth operation on his ankle last month.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    ORL
    DET
    Points 99 94
    FGM-FGA 36-76 (.474) 24-76 (.316)
    3PM-3PA 5-11 (.455) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 22-25 (.880) 40-47 (.851)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-44 9-43
    Assists 18 15
    Turnovers 11 8
    Steals 3 8
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 2 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 35 (0/0) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Orlando
    Detroit
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 43
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 21
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0