ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic may have improved this offseason, though still not enough to beat Detroit yet. Even if the Pistons are without Richard Hamilton, and even though they played the night before.
Chauncey Billups had 18 points and seven assists Friday night, and the Pistons won their second straight without their leading scorer, 116-92.
The Magic were looking to avenge eight losses against Detroit last season, the last four of which swept Orlando from its first playoff appearance in four years.
"We're not close to that right now," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of Detroit's championship caliber. "We're not. That's not a negative and that's not trying to lower the expectations. But it's game two, and we're not there, especially against teams like this."
Early on, the Magic looked capable of pulling it off. They continued a hot shooting streak from Wednesday, getting three 3-pointers in the first six minutes for a 21-15 advantage.
But the Pistons took a commanding lead in the second quarter when Orlando went cold and never let go.
"Last year doesn't really matter to me," Billups said. "You have to come out and try and beat them every single time. It has nothing to do with us winning eight straight. We just try and play to win every night."
Hamilton also missed Thursday's victory over the Miami Heat for personal reasons, but again others picked up offensively. Flip Murray scored 19 points, Tayshaun Prince, who had a career-high 34 Thursday, had 17, and Rasheed Wallace had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Reserve Jarvis Hayes scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, all at key junctures to stunt Magic momentum.
"Our bench is going to be a really, really huge thing for us," Billups said. "They are coming in and playing very aggressive. They are hungry -- you could just look and see it. We are still a little short-handed."
The Magic went two minutes without a bucket in the second period while the Pistons got seven quick points on a jumper by Arron Afflalo and a layup and three-point play from Jason Maxiell. The Pistons shot 12-of-17 in the quarter, and the lead swelled to 64-55 at halftime on Afflalo's free throws and a jumper by Billups.
The Magic mounted an 8-0 run in the third quarter, but were still down 76-63 when Wallace hit two free throws to interrupt two scoreless minutes for Detroit. Orlando drew to 80-70, but Howard, Trevor Ariza and Turkoglu missed five straight free throws after the Magic had shot 13-of-14 from the line.
"We couldn't stop anything that they did and we couldn't score on them and we couldn't rebound with them," Van Gundy said. "That's how far we have to go right there to play with the best teams in the East."
|It's a good night for Chauncey Billups, who ends with 18 points and seven assists against Orlando. (AP)|
|Detroit (2-0) «||28||36||27||25||116|
|DET:R. Murray 19 Pts
DET:A. McDyess 7 Reb
DET:C. Billups 7 Ast
|ORL:R. Lewis 21 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 13 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
Detroit Pistons 2012 Wall Calendar
$2.99 Shop Now!
|T. Prince, SF||34||6-9||5-6||1||6||0||17|
|R. Wallace, PF||31||6-10||2-2||7||1||4||16|
|C. Billups, PG||30||6-10||5-5||6||7||1||18|
|A. McDyess, PF||28||6-11||0-0||7||1||4||12|
|A. Afflalo, SG||26||2-3||4-4||1||1||1||8|
|R. Murray, PG||28||8-14||2-4||3||5||3||19|
|J. Maxiell, PF||24||2-2||5-9||4||1||5||9|
|J. Hayes, SF||23||4-9||0-0||6||0||3||11|
|N. Mohammed, C||9||2-3||0-0||3||0||1||4|
|A. Johnson, SF||5||1-2||0-0||4||0||1||2|
|R. Dupree, SF||3||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|L. Hunter, SG||Did Not Play|
|R. Hamilton, SG||Did Not Play|
|C. Samb, C||Did Not Play|
|R. Stuckey, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Howard, C||38||6-15||4-9||13||1||5||16|
|R. Lewis, SF||35||5-11||10-10||3||1||1||21|
|H. Turkoglu, SF||35||6-15||2-5||5||3||2||17|
|K. Bogans, SG||33||4-4||2-2||4||1||2||14|
|J. Nelson, PG||27||2-4||3-3||2||6||4||7|
|K. Dooling, PG||16||2-7||0-0||0||1||3||4|
|C. Arroyo, PG||15||1-5||0-0||1||2||1||2|
|P. Garrity, SF||12||0-2||0-0||0||0||2||0|
|A. Foyle, C||11||2-7||0-0||0||0||0||4|
|T. Ariza, SF||9||2-3||1-4||2||0||0||5|
|J. Redick, SG||5||0-2||0-0||0||1||0||0|
|J. Augustine, PF||4||1-2||0-0||4||0||0||2|
|T. Battie, PF||Did Not Play|
|B. Outlaw, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Gortat, F||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|