Final

Detroit wins series 4-0 (Game 3 of 4)

Detroit wins series 4-0

Game 1: Saturday, April 21st
Magic92Final
Pistons100
Game 2: Monday, April 23rd
Magic90Final
Pistons98
Game 3: Thursday, April 26th
Pistons93Final
Magic77
Game 4: Saturday, April 28th
Pistons97Final
Magic93

Pistons 93

(53-29, 27-14 away)

Magic 77

(40-42, 25-16 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:00 PM ET, April 26, 2007

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 23 25 23 2293
    ORL 23 19 19 1677

    Top Performers

    Detroit: T. Prince 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Orlando: J. Nelson 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast

    Prince, Wallace, Billups torch Magic from outside in Game 3

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Detroit Pistons showed they know how to close out quarters. Now they want to close out another series.

    Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points, Chauncey Billups added 21 and the Pistons beat Orlando 93-77 Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

    Elias Says
    Tayshaun Prince
    Prince
    Tayshaun Prince had 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in Detroit's Game 3 win over Orlando. Since Isiah Thomas retired, only one other Pistons player reached all four of those statistical levels in a non-overtime postseason game, and that man was playing for the Magic on Thursday night. Grant Hill had 26 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals for Detroit, in a playoff game at Atlanta, on May 8, 1999. Elias Says

    The victory ended a postseason trend for the Pistons -- they had lost their last six Game 3s when leading 2-0 -- and left them one victory from advancing to the second round.

    Game 4 is Saturday in Orlando.

    Detroit, which has made four straight Eastern Conference finals, gave the Magic plenty of chances in this one. The Pistons trailed early, let Orlando be physical and seemingly got flustered as they were whistled for three technical fouls. Leading scorer Richard Hamilton even had an off night, scoring 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting.

    But Detroit made up for it with solid 3-point shooting -- Prince, Billups and Rasheed Wallace were a combined 8-of-10 from behind the arc -- and strong finishes to each of the first three quarters.

    "They hit shots in the course of a game that normal teams don't hit," said Jameer Nelson, who led the Magic with 27 points.

    The Pistons scored the final six points of the first quarter, tying the game at 23. They made two baskets in the closing seconds before halftime, including a 3-pointer by Billups as he was falling out of bounds. And Prince hit a 3 on the last possession of the third.

    Casting the wrong spell
     Orlando Magic
    In Game 1 and Game 2, the Magic clawed back into the game with strong fourth quarter play, but Game 3 was a different story. Orlando went cold from the field in the fourth quarter as the Pistons took a 3-0 series lead.

    Games 1, 2 Game 3

    Points 28.0 16
    FG Pct 61.1 40.0
    3-pt FG-FGA 2-4 0-1
    FT Pct 71.4 66.7

    Those 14 points essentially turned a close game into a double-digit lead.

    "Those are plays that are killers when they're against you," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "When they happen for you, they give you a nice cushion."

    The biggest one may have come just before halftime. Orlando looked like it would keep it close heading into the locker room, maybe even hold a lead.

    But Prince hit a 20-footer with 2.3 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down -- his second jumper in the final 45 seconds.

    "He's the one guy on our team that people don't talk about," Saunders said. "He's kind of a silent assassin."

    Prince then stole an errant inbound pass from Turkoglu and fed Billups, who hit a falling-down 3 just before the final buzzer.

    Those two shots turned a one-point game into a 48-42 advantage for Detroit.

    "It was disappointing the way we finished both of the first two quarters," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We had essentially tie games or two-point games. It was unnecessary."

    It also was disheartening for a young Orlando team making its first trip to the postseason in four years.

    "It's real tough when you turn the ball over and they hit a 3," Nelson said. "Things happen in the course of the basketball game. We talked about it at halftime. We talked about moving on to the next play. It was miscommunication."

    The Magic, who have lost all seven meetings with Detroit this season, vowed to be more aggressive in Game 3. They were, and it worked early.

    Howard, who lacked energy in Game 2 because of a stomach illness, set the tone with three dunks in the first quarter. His teammates drove more often. And the Magic played better and more physical defense all around.

    But when the Pistons started clamping down on Howard -- they double-teamed just about every time he touched the ball in the final three periods -- no one other than Nelson stepped up.

    Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu, the two who carried Orlando in the first two games, struggled at home. They were a combined 6-of-22 from the field. Hill missed his final nine shots.

    And the Magic fell into an even deeper hole.

    "Game 4 is a pride game," Brian Hill said. "This is our building. We let them come in and get a win. We've got to try to establish ourselves and not let them end the series here."

    The Pistons got flustered early -- they seemed to get caught up in Orlando's emotional and aggressive play -- and looked like they might lose another Game 3.

    Wallace was called for a tech in the first for talking back. Dale Davis got one in the second for pushing Keyon Dooling. And Hamilton picked up one in the third following a hard foul on Howard.

    But the Pistons never panicked.

    They settled down after each of them and played like they have all season -- as the best road team in the East. It helped them go ahead 3-0 in a series for the first time since their championship season in 1990.

    "It was a great win for us," Billups said. "It showed our experience, our poise, staying composed in adverse situations."

    Game notes


    Golfer Tiger Woods sat courtside for the game. Florida stars Al Horford and Taurean Green, who helped lead the Gators to consecutive national titles, also were courtside. ... The Magic asked their fans to wear blue T-shirts as part of their "Code Blue" postseason marketing campaign, but the team wore white, making the arena look more like a Pistons crowd.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DET
    ORL
    Points 93 77
    FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 31-74 (.419)
    3PM-3PA 8-13 (.615) 3-8 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 12-21 (.571)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-47 8-39
    Assists 15 16
    Turnovers 9 13
    Steals 8 3
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 9 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (4/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 18 8

    Top Performers

    Detroit
    Orlando
    Tayshaun Prince Prince
    Points: 23
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Jameer Nelson Nelson
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0