The circumstances seemed right for Detroit to finally snap its losing streak against Orlando.
The Magic were coming off an emotional loss in New York to face a rested Pistons team that had won five straight and seven of nine. But Orlando still managed to beat Detroit for the seventh straight time.
Michael Doleac scored 20 points and Monty Williams had 18 as the Magic defeated the Pistons 108-99 Sunday.
Whatever the reason, the Magic have now ended three long Detroit winning streaks since March.
"I don't know what it is about them," said Grant Hill, who led the Pistons with 24 points. "They just always seem to play well against us, and we don't play well against them. We certainly didn't tonight."
Magic coach Doc Rivers said it was his team's best effort of the season.
"We've played better, but that was absolutely our best effort," Rivers said.
Jerry Stackhouse had 21 points and 10 assists for Detroit.
"On paper, everything was favorable for us tonight," Stackhouse said. "It just didn't work that way on the court."
Officially, Orlando scored 45 points off offensive rebounds and Detroit turnovers. According to unofficial stats kept on the Pistons bench, the total was closer to 60.
"You can't win games in this league when you are letting a team have that many second chances and giving them that many turnovers," said Pistons coach Alvin Gentry. "That's 56 points that we gave them, and you can't overcome that against a good team. And contrary twhat everyone says, Orlando is a good team. We need to start playing with a sense of desperation against them."
Orlando built a 57-50 halftime lead, led by Williams' 13 points, and started the second half with a 15-4 run to take an 18-point lead. Armstrong had five points in the spurt, while Doleac and Williams each had four.
"That third quarter was nothing that we were doing right or we were doing wrong," Rivers said. "It was just our effort. We got every loose ball, we caused every steal, we took every charge. And when you play like that, good things happen."
The Magic led 95-71 with 10:30 left in the game, but then Detroit went on a 12-2 run to cut the margin to 14 with seven minutes left. However, Orlando pulled away again on a basket by Ben Wallace and four points by Armstrong.
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