<
>

Cold Pistons lose for seventh straight time

12/29/2001

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Orlando coach Doc Rivers provided some
perspective during a first-quarter timeout that helped his team
snap out of a three-game funk.

"I said, 'Guys, they've lost six in a row so it's not like
that's a big confidence group over there either.' It's going to
come down to who wants to drag this out down the stretch and our
guys did," Rivers said.

Darrell Armstrong
scored 21 points and the Orlando Magic used an
early 25-4 run to defeat Detroit 87-78, handing the Pistons their
seventh straight loss and ending their own three-game losing
streak.

Armstrong shot 7-of-12 and had six rebounds and six assists. His
jump shot with 3:52 left in the first quarter broke an 11-11 tie,
and the Magic maintained the lead the rest of the game.

"What we're trying to get is momentum," said Armstrong, who
had nine points in the fourth quarter. "This is a long season. We
haven't even gotten to the All-Star break."

Tracy McGrady had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists and
Mike Miller scored 14.

Detroit trailed by as many as 17 in the third quarter but cut
Orlando's lead to five points three times in the fourth, including
80-75 with 4:25 left before the Magic responded with a 7-0 run to
lead 87-75 with 2:08 remaining.

The Pistons shot 35.8 percent, including 26.1 in the second
quarter. Ben Wallace had a season-high 16 points on 7-of-11
shooting against his former team. He added 13 rebounds and had four
of Detroit's season-high 11 blocked shots.

"I think that the effort is there and they are playing hard,
unselfishly," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "You have to keep
playing that way. Eventually shots are going to fall."

Jerry Stackhouse and Chucky Atkins scored 13 each for the
Pistons but were a combined 9-of-29.

"When you lose six games in a row, guys were kind of doubting
their shots," Atkins said. "We were not just catching and
shooting like we normally do."

Orlando led 42-30 at the half as Detroit shot 28.6 percent from
the field. The Magic started a 25-4 run at 4:22 in the first
quarter, allowing them to take a 33-15 lead with 6:31 remaining in
the second.

Zeljko Rebraca hit a jump shot that closed Orlando's lead to
22-15 at the 10:13 mark of the second quarter. But the Pistons
didn't hit another field goal until Corliss Williamson's layup made
it 33-18.

Armstrong led all scorers with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting at
the half. Clifford Robinson scored eight points and Wallace had
nine rebounds for Detroit.

Game notes
The Magic have won 16 of their last 18 home games. ... The
teams have split the last 10 games played. ... Orlando had 14
fast-break points, with Detroit getting six.