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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2008

No punks,’ Pistons bully Magic, 91-72

May 4, 2008

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— The Detroit Pistons beat up Orlando physically and mentally.

They shoved Dwight Howard out of his comfort zone and pushed the Magic's buttons during heated exchanges, leading to Detroit's 91-72 victory Saturday night in Game 1 of their second-round series.

"Mentally, we have to keep our heads," Howard said. "Detroit is going to talk and push. We knew that coming in, but we got too frustrated."

The game got emotional at times, leading to technicals against Rasheed Wallace along with Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

"You can't rattle us," Wallace said. "We ain't no punks."

Howard had a relatively quiet night with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks after being the first player to score 20 points and grab 20 rebounds in three playoff games since Wilt Chamberlain did it in 1972.

Howard injured his left thumb trying to get a rebound late in the third quarter and played with blue tape protecting it.

"It's fine," Howard said after getting an X-ray on his shooting hand. "It's just a bruise. I'll be all right."

The Magic can only hope they'll be OK, coming off a disheartening performance a year after Detroit swept them in the first round en route to its fifth straight Eastern Conference finals appearance.

Just when it seemed that the third-seeded Magic had a chance to upset the second-seeded team in Game 1, as the Philadelphia 76ers did in the first round, the Pistons dominated them at both ends of the court.

Turkoglu grabbed an offensive rebound early in the second half, dribbled up the court and didn't break stride on an uncontested dunk as Wallace and Chauncey Billups watched.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders, who usually lets his veteran team fix its own mistakes on the fly, called a timeout and let his players have it.

What did he say?

"Probably what 22,000 people in the arena were saying," Saunders recalled. "What's going on? Where is everybody?"

The Pistons showed up, and Orlando bowed out.

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