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

Detroit wins series 4-0

Game 1: Saturday, April 21st
Game 2: Monday, April 23rd
Game 3: Thursday, April 26th
Game 4: Saturday, April 28th

Pistons 97

(53-29, 27-14 away)

Magic 93

(40-42, 25-16 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    3:00 PM ET, April 28, 2007

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 22 25 26 2497
    ORL 25 21 21 2693

    Top Performers

    Det: C. Billups 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast

    Orl: D. Howard 29 Pts, 17 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Pistons overcome poor 4th-quarter shooting to sweep Magic

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic had the lead, the momentum and the crowd support. The Detroit Pistons used their postseason experience to overcome all of it.

    Chauncey Billups scored 25 points, Richard Hamilton added 19 and the Pistons avoided a fourth-quarter meltdown to beat the Magic 97-93 Saturday and sweep the first-round series.

    Spreading the Ball

    Detroit Pistons
    The Pistons swept the Magic behind double digit scoring efforts from the entire Pistons starting lineup. Since 1997, no other team has had a run of four straight games in which each starter scored at least 10 points in a playoff game.

    "The one thing we had such a big advantage on them is experience, and the only way you can get better at that is to go through it," Billups said. "I'm sure there are a lot of things they would change coming down the stretch."

    The sweep was Detroit's first in the playoffs since 1990, when the "Bad Boys" won a second consecutive NBA title.

    The Pistons handily won the first three games of the best-of-seven series, but the finale was much more difficult -- mostly because Detroit went cold to start the final period.

    The Pistons were ahead 78-69 early in the fourth, but after missing 11 of 13 shots to start the period they found themselves trailing 85-80 with about 3 minutes remaining.

    But the veteran team, which has advanced to four consecutive Eastern Conference finals, took control down the stretch.

    Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-pointer that made it 85-83. Chris Webber followed with a hook shot in the lane. Then Billups and Hamilton took over, combining to score Detroit's final 12 points.

    Elias Says
    The Pistons won 97-93 in Orlando, sweeping their best-of-seven first-round series. Detroit also swept the Magic 4-0 in the regular season. Only five previous times in NBA history has one team swept another in regular and postseason series of at least four games: The Celtics over the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958-59; the Celtics over the Rockets in 1979-80; the Celtics over the Bucks in 1985-86; the SuperSonics over the Rockets in 1995-96; and the Heat over the Wizards in 2004-05. Elias Says

    Hamilton made a jumper in the lane to put the Pistons ahead 87-86, then Billups sank a driving layup high off the glass. Hamilton followed with another jumper -- both came over undersized point guard Jameer Nelson -- that made it 91-88.

    The duo also went 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 21 seconds.

    "It was good for us to step up and make plays the way we did," Tayshaun Prince said. "Obviously, our leadership and our veterans kicked it into gear."

    Dwight Howard had 29 points and 17 rebounds -- dominating the post for the only time in the series -- to lead the Magic. Wallace, Webber and others bottled up Howard in the first three games but had less success Saturday.

    Howard was 10-of-15 from the field and 9-of-17 from the free throw line.

    Grant Hill, possibly playing his final game for Orlando, had 17 points. Darko Milicic added 14 -- half of them in the closing minutes.

    It wasn't enough, though.

    "I thought we would at least get one (game)," Hill said. "Getting swept, that was a surprise."

    All five Detroit starters scored in double figures. Prince and Wallace had 13 points apiece, and Webber finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

    The Pistons can only hope their starters continue playing the way they did against Orlando.

    Detroit, which won all eight games against the Magic this season, will face the winner of the Chicago-Miami series. The Bulls lead 3-0 heading into Sunday's Game 4.

    No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit.

    The Magic looked like they would send the series back to Detroit, but the Pistons closed out the final three quarters strong -- much like they did in Game 3.

    They got an unlikely basket to close the half -- Hamilton went coast-to-coast in 3.2 seconds for a layup -- and Prince had a 3-pointer and two free throws in the final minute of the third. Prince's unanswered points gave the Pistons a 73-67 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.

    The Magic sliced into the lead with a 12-0 run in the fourth, but had two big turnovers in the final 2 minutes that allowed Detroit to seal the victory.

    "If you're not competing against them, they're just a really fun team to watch," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "The way they play and their guys are so in tune with each other and so professional. I hope they go a long way."

    Game notes

    Webber finished 1-of-6 from the free throw line. ... Orlando's biggest question heading into the offseason is whether Grant Hill will return. Hill signed a 7-year, $93 million contract in 2000, but the seven-time All-Star has played just 200 regular-season games with the Magic. Will he feel obligated to stay in Orlando for less money? Or will he sign elsewhere in hopes of winning a championship? ... Former Florida guard Taurean Green and his father, former UNLV star and college coach, Sidney Green, were courtside for the second straight game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 97 93
    FGM-FGA 30-65 (.462) 36-77 (.468)
    3PM-3PA 6-15 (.400) 2-8 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 31-38 (.816) 19-31 (.613)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-37 15-41
    Assists 17 19
    Turnovers 16 16
    Steals 11 7
    Blocks 3 0
    Fast Break Points 18 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 27 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 10

    Top Performers

    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Dwight Howard Howard
    Points: 29
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0