NBA Game Summary - Orlando at Detroit
(Friday, December 3rd)
Final Score: Orlando 104, Detroit 91
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Brandon Bass took over the offensive load for a short-handed Orlando team by scoring a career-best 27 points as the Magic, minus four key players, beat the Detroit Pistons, 104-91, to win their sixth straight game.
The Magic, who have won 10 of their last 11 games, were without All-Star center Dwight Howard and three other players due to a stomach virus. Swingman Mickael Pietrus and guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick were also sidelined because of the illness. Howard and Pietrus flew back to Orlando and will also miss Saturday's road game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite this and an ankle injury to forward Ryan Anderson, the Magic got a balanced offensive effort, helped by Vince Carter's 25 points and nine assists. Quentin Richardson and Rashard Lewis each had 15 points, while Marcin Gortat, filling in for Howard, tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
"We're a very deep basketball team that believes in each other," Carter said. "As well as they were shooting we just kept playing, give ourselves a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. Defensively we wanted to come out and play a perfect brand of basketball. They were shooting at a high level and we wanted to stay close and give ourselves a chance to win."
Bass, who played 33 minutes in a reserve role, missed on just one of his 12 shots from the field. Orlando shot 59.7 percent.
Tayshaun Prince ended with 30 points for the Pistons, who suffered their fourth loss in a row. One of those was a 90-79 defeat in Orlando on Tuesday.
A layup from Charlie Villanueva had Detroit within 74-73 with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter, but Bass drove in for a slam and a tip-in by Malik Allen made it a five-point difference after 36 minutes.
Richardson opened the fourth with a three-pointer and the Pistons never had it at a one-possession contest the rest of the way. Another basket from in close by Bass moved the lead to 95-84 inside four minutes left and the Magic, thanks to a 10-of-16 effort from the field in the last quarter, were able to keep the big lead until the end.
"What can I say, I guess they just wanted it more than us," Villanueva said. "They were short-handed, they came ready to play. It seemed like it was hard for us to get into a flow out there. Everything seems hard for us."
Detroit held a 26-24 lead after a back-and-forth opening quarter. Prince had 14 points by the half on 5-of-6 shooting, but Detroit's lead stood only at 55-54 at the break. The Magic made their move in the third with a 14-1 spurt, capped by six straight points from Lewis for a 70-60 lead inside seven minutes left.
Ben Gordon had a career-high nine rebounds for the Pistons...Villanueva had 15 points, Rodney Stuckey 11 and Richard Hamilton 10 for Detroit...Orlando held a 35-22 rebounding advantage...The Magic have won the last five meetings.
12/03 23:18:04 ET