All summer long Doc Rivers heard how it might take him awhile to get his first NBA coaching victory. Well, the wait lasted two games.
Reserve Pat Garrity scored 20 points and led a third-quarter surge Wednesday night as the revamped Orlando Magic outran the weary Detroit Pistons 103-94 to bounce back from a season-opening loss to Charlotte.
"It was the type of tempo we want," Rivers said of the relentless style he insists Orlando has to play to make up for a lack of a true scorer on the roster.
Rivers took over a team that tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference during last year's lockout-shortened season, but is launching his coaching career with a vastly different roster after a series of trades designed to clear room under the salary cap and put together a younger, more athletic team.
Garrity is one of eight newcomers, arriving in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Penny Hardaway to the Phoenix Suns. The second-year pro led a third-quarter surge that carried the Magic to an 11-point lead that a tired Pistons team was unable to erase.
"It's a confidence-builder," Garrity said. "Detroit's a good team ... But this gets the monkey off our back, getting that first win."
Detroit, which opened the season with a tough loss at Miami on Tuesday night, pulled within 94-89 on Grant Hill's 3-pointer with just over a minute to go. But that was as close as the Pistons could get in losing for the 13th straight time at Orlando Arena, a streak dating bacto Jan. 2, 1993.
Detroit coach Alvin Gentry said his team couldn't use fatigue as an alibi for a poor performance. The Pistons shot 43 percent and were outrebounded 58-34 by the Magic, who trailed by as many as 29 points before losing to Charlotte by 12 on Tuesday night.
"We are a well-conditioned team," Gentry said. "Everybody in the NBA plays back-to-back games. It's the second game of the year. We cannot use that as an excuse."
Garrity made eight of his first nine shots and had eight points in the third quarter when Orlando outscored the Pistons 33-23 to take control of the game. Darrell Armstrong finished with 17 points and Tarik Abdul-Wahad had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic.
The Pistons looked like a team that played double overtime the night before, riding an initial burst of energy to an early 10-point. The Magic came back to lead 23-21 after a quarter and led much of the second quarter before Detroit scored the last two baskets of the half to pull ahead 45-44.
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