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Balanced effort helps Pistons overcome Magic

4/23/2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- A true team can beat a sensational
superstar.

Tracy McGrady scored 46 points, but five Detroit Pistons scored
in double figures as they beat the Orlando Magic 89-77 Wednesday in
Game 2 to even their first-round playoff series.

"I can't win it by myself,'' McGrady said. "I'm pretty sure
they should understand that, but I give Detroit credit for really
shutting those guys down.''

McGrady's teammates, led by Andrew DeClercq's nine points,
combined for just 31 points.

Richard Hamilton had 30 points one game after scoring 28 in his
playoff debut. Detroit's Chauncey Billups had 15, Corliss
Williamson added 13 and Cliff Robinson scored 10.

"Everybody helps everybody out and everybody knows their
place,'' Hamilton said.

Ben Wallace validated the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award
he won earlier in the day -- for the second straight year. Wallace
made two come-from-behind blocks in the first several minutes, and
finished with 16 rebounds, three steals, three blocks and 10
points.

"I thought I was going to have to lead the way, but the guys
were already ready,'' Wallace said. "We just played with a lot of
energy.''

McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer, broke the Magic playoff
scoring record he set Sunday with 43 points. His 46-point
performance also tied The Palace scoring record in any game shared
by Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry Stackhouse and Grant Hill.

McGrady made 16 of 26 shots and 10 of 11 free throws.

"I thought we made McGrady work for his shots, but he's playing
at an amazing level,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's
doing things that most of us have never seen before.''

Game 3 is Friday in Orlando.

Detroit, which never trailed, led by 22 early in the second
quarter and maintained a double-digit lead for the final 9:25.

Wallace's alley-oop dunk and Billups' 3-pointer gave Detroit an
85-70 lead with 4:23 left, but McGrady answered with a long jumper
and a 3-pointer in less than a minute. But the Magic could not get
closer.

Pistons rookie Tayshaun Prince, who didn't even play in Game 1,
helped slow down McGrady for a short time. Prince replaced Michael
Curry with 4:45 left in the third quarter and McGrady missed his
first four field goals against Prince as Detroit pulled away for
good.

"Maybe now we have to call Tayshaun Prince the T-Mac stopper,''
Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "But the bottom line is, we've got
to get other guys involved.''

The game -- and Billups -- couldn't have started any differently
than the opener.

Detroit made 12 of 21 shots in the first quarter to take a 31-14
lead. It missed 18 of its first 22 shots on Sunday and trailed by
nine early in the second quarter. Billups made as many shots --
three -- in the first 5:31 as he did after taking 16 shots in Game
1.

After Detroit took its second 22-point lead early in the second
quarter, McGrady brought the Magic back with spectacular shots.

McGrady scored 14 points in 4:19 to cut Orlando's deficit to
43-35. The highlight came when he caught an alley-oop pass with
both hands on the right side of the lane, then scored with a
left-handed layup on the other side of the rim.

Detroit scored the last five points of the quarter to lead 54-40
at halftime.

The Magic pulled within six for the first time since midway
through the first quarter with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
Detroit answered with six straight points, including Hamilton's two
free throws after he was knocked down by Shawn Kemp, who was called for a flagrant foul.

The Pistons started the fourth quarter with a 70-61 lead.

Game notes
Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, a former Piston, presented Wallace
with his award before the game. ... At halftime, the Pistons
honored Earl Lloyd, who will be inducted this year into the
Basketball Hall of Fame. Lloyd became the first black player in the
NBA in 1950. He played for the Pistons from 1958-60 and coached
them in the early 1970s, after being the first black NBA assistant
coach in 1968. ... Faces in the crowd included boxer Tommy "Hit
Man'' Hearns and Houston's Maurice Taylor, a Detroit native. ..
Deon Curry, the son of Detroit's Michael Curry, has made a
commitment to play football at Michigan State.