ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic, a one-man show? Hardly.
Two days after being collectively outscored by teammate Tracy McGrady, Orlando's supporting cast provided the superstar guard
with the help he needed as the Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons
89-80 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff
Backing up McGrady's 29 points was Darrell Armstrong's 20
points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Drew Gooden's 15 points
and seven rebounds. Gordan Giricek snapped out of a slump to score
10 points, all in a crucial third-quarter burst.
"For those guys to play like that, man, that can carry us a
long way in the playoffs,'' said McGrady, who fell short of a third
straight 40-point game. "I told them (Thursday) to go out there
and play the game, don't change it for me. And they did a great job
"If they continue to play like that, I really don't have to do
In a loss at Detroit on Wednesday, McGrady had 46 points and
everyone else 31. That embarrassment made the Game 3 victory
sweeter for Armstrong.
"It's ridiculous when you hear people talk about this is a
one-man team,'' said Armstrong, who made his first five shots.
"He's definitely our guy, definitely the guy who got us here -- but
other guys are setting picks to get him open, too.''
The Pistons shot 39 percent while turning the ball over 16 times
and having seven shots blocked. Point guard Chauncey Billups, who
bruised his left thigh in the third quarter, was held to five
points with five turnovers against two assists.
"You're not going to beat a team like Orlando if you can't hold
them down to somewhere in the low to mid-40s (shooting
percentage,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "They ended up
shooting 48 for the game, which is a losing number for us.''
Orlando forged a 63-54 lead midway through the third quarter
when, on consecutive possessions, Giricek hit a 3-pointer, Gooden
banked in a heave while being knocked down and Giricek hit another
3 and a jumper. His shots snapped his 1-for-14 skid following a
series-opening basket last Sunday, and his teammates mobbed him in
joy when the Pistons called timeout.
"A lot of it is confidence,'' said Giricek, who was slumping
entering the playoffs. "I finally made a shot, then two, then
three, and then you know you have your confidence back.''
Fueling Orlando's 10-0 breakout was Armstrong's on-the-ball
defense to force four straight turnovers. The Magic soon extended
their lead to 67-56, and the Pistons never came within six points
In the second half, Detroit shot 32 percent with 11 turnovers.
The Pistons were so inept on offense, they only outscored Orlando
by a point in the fourth quarter despite holding the Magic to two
"We probably stopped doing the little things, helping each
other get open, getting something on the weak side and things like
that,'' said Hamilton, who shot 2-for-11 after the break.
Orlando tried to get McGrady's teammates involved early through
a deliberate style, out of character for the East's second-most
potent offense. The halfcourt sets failed more often than not, and
in the opening six minutes the Magic had five turnovers and McGrady
had only one shot as they fell behind 15-6.
Hamilton, meanwhile, got off to a good start for the second
straight game. Shooting over the Magic's shorter guards, Hamilton
had 13 points in the quarter as Detroit led 29-19 at the period's
Despite the Magic's early troubles scoring, shooting wasn't a
problem -- and that's what carried them to a 48-46 halftime lead.
Orlando made 12 of its first 17 shots in the second quarter, with
Gooden making four straight to give him six consecutive for the
McGrady had 14 points in the half, and with his teammates
finally making shots, he added four assists -- equaling his total
from the previous two games.
Jacque Vaughn drew a flagrant foul late in the first
quarter when he yanked Wallace to the floor. Two periods later,
Wallace was hit with a technical for arguing a foul call. ...
McGrady's first two games were the third and fourth-highest point
totals against a No. 1 seed since the NBA went to a 16-team format
in 1984. Michael Jordan scored 63 and 49 points against Boston in
1986. ... When McGrady was the only Orlando player to score in
double figures in Game 2, it marked only the ninth time in NBA
playoff history that just one player from a team had topped 10