May 05, 2008
Fast Breaks: Pistons-Magic
By Marty Burns
Game 2   Leaders
Pistons lead series 2-0   Points Rebounds Assists
100 93
• The Magic are down 2-0 to the Pistons after Monday night's loss, but there is no reason for them to panic. The game was much closer than the final score indicated. Were it not for that brutal clock mistake (see below) that gave Detroit an extra three points, Orlando might have pulled it out.

The key for the Magic is to use their anger as motivation and resist the urge to blame it on the refs. Orlando still had plenty of opportunities to win the game in the fourth quarter. But Rashard Lewis (bad pass), Hedo Turkoglu (wild three-point attempt) and Jameer Nelson (dumb foul) all made poor decisions in the final minute that helped doom their cause. For the game the Magic had 19 turnovers (Detroit had just eight). That's not going to get it done against a quality foe such as the Pistons.

• The refs messed up in allowing Chauncey Billups' (pictured) three-pointer to stand at the end of the third quarter after the clock failed to start on the inbound pass. But don't call it a home job. According to TNT, which broadcast the game, the timekeeper was a member of the T'wolves stat crew assigned to the game to provide an objective thumb on the switch. So unless he was a friend of Flip Saunders from his Minnesota days, it's hard to believe there were any shenanigans. Either way, get ready for more debate about instant replay.

• Tayshaun Prince (17 points, 10 boards, five assists) was Detroit's unsung hero, coming up with several big buckets while leading another strong team defensive effort with his hustle and rebounding. Billups (28 points, four assists) also played well for the Pistons, helping offset a subpar outing by Rip Hamilton (14 points on 4-of-18 shooting).

• Dwight Howard (pictured) had a big game statistically (22 points, 18 boards), but he never really made his presence felt. He couldn't establish much in the post, though a lot of it was because his Magic teammates had trouble getting him the ball. At the other end, Rasheed Wallace is forcing Howard to play away from the basket where he can't wreak defensive havoc like he did in the last series against the Raptors.

• Two injuries bear watching in Game 3. Howard appeared at times to still be bothered by that sore left thumb. He fumbled a few passes early, looking down at it while grimacing after one turnover. For Detroit, Billups fell hard on his back with 3:20 left and stayed down on the court for a minute. He got up and seemed to be OK, but was holding his back a few minutes later while dribbling the ball up court.

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