AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Rasheed Wallace usually needs to get mad at an official or face a late-game situation to get motivated.
The opening tip was enough for him Monday night.
Wallace blocked a shot and made a 3-pointer on the opening possessions and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to help the Detroit Pistons beat the Orlando Magic 98-90 and take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
"Sheed has been very focused ever since we started practicing for the playoffs," Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups said. "You can see the difference in him. When he's like that, we're a difficult team to play."
Former teammate Carlos Arroyo agreed.
"It's so tough to defend them when he's stretching the defense shooting from the outside like a guard," Arroyo said. "He can also score inside and defend, so he really creates problems all over the place."
Wallace insisted the Pistons will not lack incentive in Game 3 on Thursday night in Orlando even though the Magic need to win four of five to eliminate the Eastern Conference's top seed.
"We can't let them get back into the series," Wallace said. "We have to get that third win."
In Game 2, Detroit's balance was too much for Orlando's two-player attack.
Detroit's starters each scored at least 10 points and top reserve Antonio McDyess added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, while Billups had 21 points, eight assists and only one turnover. Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points and Chris Webber added 10 points and nine rebounds.
"It isn't just that they're balanced. They are balanced and they are good," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "You have to play solid defense against them because they are used to playing together and they are very unselfish. It's tough."
The Magic, meanwhile, didn't have a third player in double figures until the final minute of the game when former Piston Darko Milicic scored his 10th point - all in the fourth quarter.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 22 points and Grant Hill had 21 for Orlando to prevent it from being a rout, but their teammates - particularly Dwight Howard - didn't do enough to give the Magic any shot at evening the best-of-seven series.
"They are a good team. We are learning to be a good team," Grant Hill said.
Howard was held to eight points and didn't score in the second half until the final minute, when the game was essentially over.
The All-Star center began feeling ill Monday afternoon and the team said he wasn't doing interviews after the game.
"Dwight was sick quite honestly," Brian Hill said. "He just didn't have anything. Before the game, he was nauseous and had intense stomach pains."
The Pistons were in control for much of the game, but just like the opener, Orlando rallied late to make the final score look respectable.
Detroit led by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, but was ahead by just six with 1Â½ minutes left.
On the ensuing possession, Billups ended Orlando's comeback hopes with a three-point play.
Wallace also disheartened the Magic during their late rally by throwing up a 27-footer just before the shot clock expired and making the lucky shot off glass, giving Detroit a 10-point lead with a few minutes left.
"We had started to get some momentum, we played a good defense possession and then he hits one from almost halfcourt," Grant Hill said. "All I could do is tell him to try shooting with his eyes open next time."
Last month, Wallace made a shot from about 60 feet at the buzzer to force a game against Denver to go into overtime and Detroit went on to win. "He hits crazy shots like that," Billups said. "I can't say he meant to do that, but I'll take it." NOTES: Orlando was 17-of-26 at the line after missing half its free throws in Game 1 and had just nine turnovers after making 21 in the series opener. ... Detroit's reserves combined to shoot just 2-of-16. ... There were four lead changes and three ties, all in the first quarter. ... The Pistons won Game 1 100-92 on Saturday night.comments powered by Disqus