NBA: Orlando remains confident
By Travis Reed
ORLANDO, Fla. ó The Orlando Magic know what it takes to beat Detroit.
Take care of the ball. Donít force shots. Find the open man. And donít get frustrated.
They have done that for stretches of their second-round, best-of-seven series ó none more impressive than a 36-point third quarter in a 100-93 loss on Monday.
They just havenít done nearly enough of it.
iWe made some bad decisions and some tough shots down the stretch and got away from playing the way that we had played when things were going well,î Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Down 2-0 to a team that has made five straight appearances in the Eastern Conference finals, the Magic realizes it will have to play a nearly perfect game when the series returns to Orlando today.
The biggest culprit Monday was the Magicís 19 turnovers compared with Detroitís 10.
iWhen you turn the ball over, you arenít giving yourself a chance, and we just have to do the little things like that, as well as not letting them get the offensive rebounds,î Orlando guard Jameer Nelson said. iThere are just some things that we need to take care of. We have great competitors in this locker room that compete really hard, and we just turned the ball over.î
Orlando has now lost nine straight playoff games to Detroit dating back to last yearís first-round sweep by the Pistons and a 2003 series in which Detroit won the last three games to overcame a 3-1 deficit. One more loss would tie the Magic with three other teams for the second-longest postseason losing streak to one team in NBA history.
After making just two of 15 3-pointers in Game 1, the Magic found its touch Monday. Orlando made 11 of 26 ó including seven straight in the third quarter. But the Magic shot only 1-for-9 from long range in the decisive fourth quarter.
iThatís the scary part of playing this team,î Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. iThey go through runs of making 3s where youíre saying that itís never going to go in. And Iím sure in the fourth quarter (Van Gundy) was saying, ëAre we ever going to make another one?í î