Orlando's skid goes on as playoff chances fade

The Magic loses its fifth straight, 103-94 to the Pistons, and has almost no margin for error for getting into the postseason.

Associated Press
Published April 14, 2005

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Ben Wallace downplayed his latest feat until he was handed a piece of paper showing the small group he joined.

Wallace became the fifth player in NBA history to have 100 blocks and 100 steals in five straight seasons and six Pistons scored in double figures in a 103-94 victory over the Magic on Wednesday night.

Rookie Jameer Nelson scored a season-high 30 points for Orlando, which has a slim chance of making the playoffs even after losing five straight and 16 of 20.

Orlando will be in the postseason if it closes the regular season with four wins and Philadelphia loses its last five and New Jersey beats the 76ers and loses its three other games. Or the Magic can back in by finishing in a three-way tie with the Nets and Philadelphia.

"We're not even thinking about the playoffs right now," Nelson said. "We've got to find a way to just win another game somewhere."

Wallace joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Julius Erving, Sam Lacey and David Robinson as the only players with 100 blocks and 100 steals in five consecutive seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"That's a nice list to be a part of," said Wallace, who finished with nine points, 13 rebounds, two steals and no blocks. "It's good to have my name even mentioned with those guys."

The Pistons have won eight in a row, matching a season high.

Detroit built a double-digit lead late in the first quarter and had little trouble maintaining it.

Magic starting guard DeShawn Stevenson and reserve forward Pat Garrity missed the game to attend the births of children. Kelvin Cato didn't play because of a sore back.

Orlando's Steve Francis scored six - 15 below his average - on 3-for-13 shooting.

"They had four people waiting for me every time I got the ball. That forced me into some bad shots," Francis said. "It's tough going up against the champs with this many guys out, but I thought we hung in there."

Detroit had a 31-17 lead in the first quarter after shooting 73.7 percent and holding Orlando to 36.4 percent. The Pistons led 56-38 at halftime.

Howard scored 12 in the third quarter to help the Magic pull within 12, but Orlando trailed 78-62 by the end of the quarter.