AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Tracy McGrady made the NBA's best
defense look bad.
"This guy is arguably the best player on the planet,'' Detroit
coach Rick Carlisle said. "We know that, and we know he is going
to score some points and do some spectacular things. But if he goes
for 40-plus in every game, it's going to be really hard for us.''
Six Pistons tried to guard the NBA's leading scorer, who was
15-of-28 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line.
It was a particularly impressive effort considering that Detroit
allowed opponents just 87.7 points per game this season. No other
team's average was under 90.
"I felt like I could get any shot,'' McGrady said.
Eighth-seeded Orlando led by 11 points with 5:22 left, but
Detroit's 14-4 run pulled it to 94-93 with about a minute to go.
"If we play with the same urgency in the first quarter that we
had in the fourth, we win this game easy,'' said Detroit's Ben
Wallace, who played 42 minutes after missing two weeks with an
injured left knee.
McGrady -- whose 32.1-point average this season was the highest
of his five-year NBA career -- made two free throws with 46.5
seconds left. After Detroit missed two shots in the lane, Orlando's
Gordan Giricek added two free throws, and McGrady scored the last
point to surpass the Magic playoff scoring record he shared with
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in
Detroit. The last time the Magic advanced in the playoffs, in 1996,
they swept the Pistons in the first round.
Orlando rookie Drew Gooden had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Chucky Atkins -- who like Wallace, joined Detroit in the trade
that sent Grant Hill to the Magic -- made back-to-back 3-pointers at
the end of the third quarter and to start the fourth to cut
Detroit's deficit to 76-75.
That's when McGrady took over with a personal 10-0 burst.
The right-handed swingman made a three-point play on a
left-handed shot, a 3-pointer, two free throws and a left-handed
finger roll to put the Magic ahead 86-75.
"He made some tough shots. That's what superstars do,'' Wallace
said. "They make plays in big games.''
Orlando had two other 11-point leads before Detroit made its
The Pistons, who made just 31.6 percent of their shots, would
have been routed if it weren't for their frequent trips, and
success, at the free throw line. They made 40 of 47 free throws,
while Orlando made 22 of 25.
Detroit missed 18 of its first 22 field-goal attempts.
The Magic proved they were more than just a one-man show in the
When McGrady left the game late in the first quarter, the Magic
went on an 11-4 run to take a 30-21 lead. When he came back with 7½
minutes before halftime, Orlando was ahead by seven.
McGrady made a jaw-dropping play two minutes later. He drove
past Robinson on the left wing and was fouled by Jon Barry before
dunking over the 7-foot Mehmet Okur. McGrady completed the
three-point play to put Orlando ahead 39-27, its biggest lead.
The 6-foot-8 McGrady, who's 23, was asked what it was like to be
allowed to go one-on-one against Robinson, who is 6-10 and 36.
"When I'm feeling good and my jumper is falling,'' McGrady
said, "he's pretty much at my mercy.''
LeBron James, the prep star who is expected to be the No. 1
pick in the draft, attended his first NBA playoff game. He smiled
from his front row seat when McGrady soared for his first-half dunk
several feet away. "That was nice,'' James said with a smile. "I
can't do that.'' ... Hill wasn't at the game because coach Doc
Rivers said it would be a distraction. Hill had a fourth operation
on his ankle last month.