Hill Scores 14 In First Game Against Former Team
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Clifford Robinson and Corliss Williamson carried Detroit through most of the final period against Orlando. But Chucky Atkins was ready when the Pistons needed someone else to step up.
Robinson had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Atkins' 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play put Detroit (9-4) ahead for good as the Pistons rallied to beat the Magic 105-100 Monday night.
Williamson scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Atkins said his teammates told him that when the Magic double-teamed down low, he should be ready for a pass in the right corner. Sure enough, Jon Barry found Atkins standing alone and the shot gave Detroit a 96-94 lead.
"As soon as I saw Horace Grant running at me, my thought process was, `It's already too late,"' said Atkins who finished with 11 points and made three 3-pointers. "I didn't even hesitate."
Detroit made 12 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. For the game, the Pistons shot 54 percent (38-of-70) from the field.
"Our guys were doing a good job of getting each other shots for most of the game," Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was just a matter of playing with force at both ends. When we play good defense, it sets everything else up. We turned up our defense in the second half, and that helped a lot."
After the Magic missed their next shot, Robinson hit a pair of free throws to put Detroit up by four points with 37.6 seconds remaining. He finished with nine points in the period.
Michael Curry appeared to seal it by blocking Tracy McGrady's ensuing layup try, but the Pistons turned the ball over. McGrady came up with it and was fouled on a desperation 3-point heave with 21.5 seconds left.
McGrady hit all three foul shots to cut the deficit to 98-97. But the Pistons made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 20 seconds.
Orlando (7-8) was led by McGrady's 24 points. Darrell Armstrong, coming on in a reserve role for the first time in more than two seasons, had 22 points, seven assists and six steals. Mike Miller added 21 points.
Grant Hill, in his first game against his former team, had 14 points and eight rebounds. Hill was a five-time All-Star for Detroit before signing a seven-year, $93 million contract with Orlando in August 2000. He was limited to four games last season because of an ankle injury.
But the injury flared up again, and Hill left the game with seven minutes remaining. X-rays were negative and Hill later said the pain was caused by scar tissue giving way as his ankle rotated.
Orlando coach Doc Rivers said: "The X-rays they showed were clean -- no break, nothing. But there's pain coming from somewhere."
Hill was scheduled to have further tests on Tuesday.
The Magic briefly held an 11-point advantage midway through the third quarter, but Detroit rallied to take the lead behind a 20-7 run over the next 10 minutes. Robinson's three-point play gave Detroit a 71-69 lead with 10:33 remaining.
The Pistons were again without forward-guard Jerry Stackhouse, who sat out with a strained groin muscle. It was the third straight game missed by Stackhouse, 14th in the league in scoring at 21.7 points per game.
Miller replaced Armstrong in the starting lineup. Rivers said Miller, last season's rookie of the year, earned the start by proving he was finally recovered from a fractured bone in his right foot that sidelined him for five games. Miller scored a career-high 32 points in Orlando's loss to Charlotte on Saturday. ... Armstrong had made 175 consecutive starts. The last time he came off the bench was April 25, 1999. In that game at Philadelphia, he scored 18 points en route to becoming the NBA's sixth man of the year. ... Detroit's Ben Wallace entered as the only player in the league to be ranked among the top 10 in blocks (3.6 per game), steals (2.0) and rebounds (11). He leads the NBA in blocks, is fifth in steals and eighth in rebounding. ... The attendance was 12,510 -- Orlando's smallest home crowd this season.
Philadelphia 94, Detroit 89