Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/25

Game 1: Wednesday, December 25th
Pistons99Final
Magic104
Game 2: Monday, January 13th
Pistons101Final
Magic86
Game 3: Thursday, February 13th
Magic88Final
Pistons98

Magic 88

(25-27, 10-16 away)

Pistons 98

(34-15, 19-5 home)

    7:30 PM ET, February 13, 2003

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 26 21 15 2688
    DET 26 26 19 2798

    Top Performers

    Orlando: T. McGrady 35 Pts, 11 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Detroit: R. Hamilton 29 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast

    Hamilton helps shoot down Magic, keep Pistons rolling

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- It's motivating the Detroit Pistons that few seem to mention them as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

     Richard Hamilton
    Hamilton

    Richard Hamilton scored 29 points as Detroit matched its best streak of the season, beating the Orlando Magic 98-88 Thursday night for a sixth straight victory.

    The Pistons pulled within a game of Indiana for the best record in the Central Division and Eastern Conference. Detroit is a game ahead of the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Nets.

    "A lot of people are still doubting us,'' Hamilton said. "When people talk about the East, they only talk about Indiana and New Jersey. That gives us motivation to keep striving to win.''

    The Pistons also won six straight from Dec. 11-20.

    Hamilton made 10-of-18 shots and 9-of-12 free throws.

    "One of our plans was to try to stop Rip Hamilton,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "He had another big game. I thought he should have been on the All-Star team.''

    The Magic have lost six of eight and might have to compete with Washington for the final playoff spot in the conference over their last 30 games.

    Orlando's Tracy McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer, had 35 points on 13-of-31 shooting, 11 rebounds and six assists. McGrady was among the first four players chosen Thursday for the 2004 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

    "He is just a phenomenal, phenomenal player,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said.

    Detroit's Cliff Robinson scored 18 points, Chauncey Billups had 12 and Michael Curry tied a season-high with 11. Ben Wallace, the NBA's leading rebounder, pulled down 18 rebounds.

    Orlando, which trailed by 15 points late in the third quarter, cut the deficit to three for a fourth time in the final period with 4:22 left.

    But Robinson made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and Billups scored inside to put Detroit ahead by eight with 3:13 left.

    "It is just really tough when you get down against a team like this,'' McGrady said. "You use all your energy fighting hard to get back, and then once you get back, it just seems tough to try to get over the hump.''

    The Magic were without Shawn Kemp for a second straight game because he was suspended without pay by the NBA on Tuesday for violating terms of its anti-drug policy. It was the third time Kemp has violated the policy.

    Jacque Vaughn scored 15 points for the Magic. Pat Garrity had 14 and Andrew DeClercq added 11.

    The game was tied at 26 after eight lead changes and three ties. The Pistons led 52-47 at halftime.

    Detroit outscored the Magic 12-2 to open the second half and take a 64-49 lead. Orlando, which went more than eight minutes without a basket, scored nine straight points toward the end of the quarter to pull within four.

    But Robinson made a shot from well before halfcourt at the buzzer to put the Pistons ahead 71-62.

    "Cliff Robinson's 3-pointer from 60 feet, or whatever it was, was real big for us going into the fourth,'' Carlisle said.

    Game notes
    Rivers said Kemp took a drug test Wednesday, and might have to take another Friday. ... Detroit won the season series 2-1. ... The Pistons play three games over the next four games. ... Detroit won its previous five games by 19.2 points and held each of those teams to under 85 points. ... Singer Kid Rock, a Michigan native, attended the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    ORL
    DET
    Points 88 98
    FGM-FGA 31-74 (.419) 36-78 (.462)
    3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 7-22 (.318)
    FTM-FTA 19-21 (.905) 19-26 (.731)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 12-42
    Assists 16 17
    Turnovers 19 16
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 19 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Orlando
    Detroit
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 35
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Richard Hamilton Hamilton
    Points: 29
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0