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Pistons still have Magic's number

By Associated Press
Published November 2, 2003

ORLANDO - The playoffs were six months and one coach ago for the Pistons, but one thing hasn't changed: Their team play is still better than the Magic's one-man show.

Richard Hamilton scored 10 of his 20 in the fourth quarter and backcourt partner Chauncey Billups added 17 to lead Detroit over Orlando 96-85 Saturday night. Chucky Atkins, the Pistons' third guard, had 14.

It was the teams' first meeting since the opening round of last season's playoffs. The Magic held a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, but the Pistons rallied.

Like in April and May, Detroit had to hold fast against a barrage by Tracy McGrady. He scored 18 of his 31 in the third quarter but misfired afterward.

McGrady missed all seven of his shots in the final quarter, while the rest of his Orlando teammates shot 5-for-12 as the Magic was held to 13 points.

"We wore him down a little bit," said Pistons center Ben Wallace, who had 13 points and 17 rebounds for his second double double of the season. "No one else really stepped up to take control over the game."

McGrady heated up after the game.

"My guys are starting to learn each other and they don't know where their spots are at," said McGrady, who finished 10-of-24 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. "Nobody knows when to cut, where to cut; point guards don't know if they should pass or stay or go through.

"So, there's a little bit of confusion there."

NETS 98, WIZARDS 85: Jason Kidd had 30 points and nine assists to lead visiting New Jersey past former assistant coach Eddie Jordan's team. Richard Jefferson added 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who never trailed. Kenyon Martin did not play after spraining his left ankle Friday. Coach Byron Scott did not give a timetable for Martin's return, saying only that the forward is doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Rockets.

PACERS 103, HAWKS 99 (OT): Anthony Johnson hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer, then sealed host Indiana's victory by taking an elbow to the face from Jason Terry. Johnson scored 15 for the Pacers, who fell behind 14-0 at the start but rebounded to keep Atlanta winless in its home opener. The Hawks stormed back in the final two minutes of regulation, scoring the last seven to send the game to overtime tied at 90.

WOLVES 73, RAPTORS 56: Kevin Garnett had 20 points and seven rebounds, and Latrell Sprewell's defense helped host Minnesota hold Toronto to a franchise-low for points. Michael Olowokandi had 14 points and Sam Cassell added 13 for the Wolves, who scored a franchise-low 61 Friday at New Jersey. The Raptors' 56 was the lowest total ever against Minnesota. Vince Carter was the only Toronto player in double figures, scoring 15.

HORNETS 97, CELTICS 90: Baron Davis made six 3-pointers and scored 37 to lead host New Orleans, giving it the first 3-0 start in franchise history. Davis was 6-for-7 from 3-point range, his last coming with 4:26 left and giving the Hornets a 91-87 lead. Paul Pierce led Boston with 25, and Raef LaFrentz scored 17 off the bench.

MAVERICKS 127, JAZZ 102: Newcomers Antoine Walker and Tony Delk began looking comfortable in the Dallas offense, each sinking a pair of 3-pointers during an exciting third-quarter stretch that carried the host Mavericks past Utah. Delk scored 14 of his 22 in the third and Walker had 10 of his 16. Dallas scored 41, two shy of the biggest third quarter in team history.

BUCKS 98, BULLS 68: Newcomer Joe Smith helped make coach Terry Porter's home debut a winning one, scoring 19 for Milwaukee. Smith scored 12 in the third as the Bucks turned a tight game into a blowout. He had eight straight during a 24-3 run that turned a 48-47 deficit into a 71-51 lead. Chicago never recovered and finished with one of the worst halves in its history, scoring 26 and making eight field goals in 33 chances.

GRIZZLIES 79, ROCKETS 71: Lorenzen Wright came off the bench to score 21, including 10 straight in the fourth, to lead visiting Memphis. With the Grizzlies trailing 61-60 and 7:39 left, Wright scored 11 during a 13-2 run. Houston pulled within 75-71 on a basket by Yao Ming with 51 seconds left but never got closer.

SPURS 86, KNICKS 74: Jason Hart and Shane Heal handled point guard duties in their season debuts for host San Antonio as Tim Duncan had 15 points and 15 rebounds. With Tony Parker (sore left ankle) and Anthony Carter (left patella tendinitis) sidelined, the Spurs gave the start to Hart - signed Friday after being cut by the Sonics. He had two points and two assists in 31 minutes. Heal, an Australian who played briefly for the Wolves, had 11 points - including a pair of 3-pointers - and two assists in 17 minutes.

NUGGETS 109, KINGS 88: Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists in his best showing of a young season, leading host Denver over Sacramento. Voshon Lenard had 15 points, and Chris Andersen and Rodney White came off the bench to score 12 each for the Nuggets, who had seven players in double figures.

SONICS: Guard Ray Allen will be out six to eight weeks after arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle.

[Last modified November 2, 2003, 07:26:04]

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