Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/8

Game 1: Friday, December 8th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 21st
Game 3: Friday, February 23rd
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11th

Pistons 87

(13-7, 7-4 away)

Magic 83

(14-7, 7-2 home)

    Coverage: WDWB

    7:00 PM ET, December 8, 2006

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 19 21 26 2187
    ORL 22 22 23 1683

    Top Performers

    Detroit: C. Billups 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast

    Orlando: D. Howard 25 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Beasts of the East: Former Magic player Billups lifts Pistons

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons had too much late-game experience for the improving Orlando Magic.

    Chauncey Billups scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Pistons to their second impressive road win in two nights, an 87-83 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

    Elias Says
    Dwight Howard
    Dwight Howard, whose 21st birthday was on Friday, scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in Orlando's loss to Detroit. Many players in NBA history have scored at least 25 points and had at least 10 rebounds in a game played on their birthday, but only two others did it on the day they turned 21: Chris Webber (in 1994) and Bernard King (in 1977). No NBA player has ever had 25 or more points and 10 or more rebounds on his birthday when he was younger than 21.

    • For more Elias Says, Click here.

    Playing the Eastern Conference-leading Magic (14-7), the former champions solved some early ball control problems and took advantage of three Orlando turnovers in four late possessions. In a 33-second span, Richard Hamilton turned two of those mistakes into four Detroit points that gave the Pistons the lead for good.

    "We've been in a million games like this, where it comes down to the last four or five minutes," said Billups, who shot 11-of-16 despite a hamstring injury. "We just stay poised out there."

    The Pistons (13-7) beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-82 on Thursday night. Orlando has lost two in a row and three of its last four.

    The Magic maintained a slim fourth-quarter lead most of the way despite missing nine of their first 11 shots in the period.

    Flip Murray put Detroit up 82-80, its first lead since 8:01 in the third quarter, on a 12-foot turnaround jumper with about 2:30 left.

    "Right now, they are the best team in the Eastern Conference," Billups said. "We knew they were going to come out fresh. They made a quick run and we withstood that."

    Dwight Howard, celebrating his 21st birthday, had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando. Grant Hill had 12 points and four assists and Trevor Ariza scored 10 points.

    "I just think that we didn't make shots that we should have made," Howard said. "We had a couple turnovers that gave them the game. I don't like losing, period, but we've got a game tomorrow."

    Hamilton finished with 14 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, Rasheed Wallace had 13 points and six assists and Murray had 13 points.

    Billups scored 16 of Detroit's 26 third-quarter points, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor. The last bucket was an 18-foot jumper with 0.6 seconds left in the period.

    "Sometimes when you're not 100 percent you have a tendency to slow down a little bit and almost play better at times, because as you slow down your mind slows down and things become a little clearer," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.

    Both teams struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 65 percent. Howard, ordinarily one of the Magic's worst shooters from the line, went 11-of-13.

    "In a close game we can't miss 12 free throws and expect to be in the game at the end," Magic coach Brian Hill said.

    Leading by three points at the end of the first quarter, the Magic expanded their lead to eight while resting all of their starters in the second quarter. But Murray led the Pistons back with six points on a 10-2 run over 3:09 that tied it at 33.

    Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu was carried off the court in the first quarter after spraining his right ankle. Turkoglu appeared to step on Tayshaun Prince's foot going for a rebound with 1 1/2 minutes left in the period. Ariza played heavily in his absence and hit 4-of-5 from the field, but missed five of his seven free throws.

    Game notes

    Pistons G Lindsey Hunter (sprained left ankle) missed his second straight game. ... Detroit, averaging a league-low 12 turnovers, had nine in the first half, but finished with 13 to Orlando's 14. ... The Pistons made 6-of-12 from 3-point range, compared with 3-of-13 for the Magic.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 83
    FGM-FGA 34-72 (.472) 29-65 (.446)
    3PM-3PA 6-12 (.500) 3-13 (.231)
    FTM-FTA 13-20 (.650) 22-34 (.647)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-38 7-34
    Assists 16 18
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 4 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (2/0) 19 (0/1)
    Largest Lead 9 8

    Top Performers

    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 31
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Dwight Howard Howard
    Points: 25
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1