Pistons, Hornets take 2-0 leads in the NBA playoff series
|Detroit Pistons center Chauncey Billups (1) drives on Orlando Magic guard Keith Bogans (10) during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball series at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, May 5, 2008. Billups led the Pistons with 28 points in the 100-93 win.|
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons took advantage of what seemed to be a little help from the hometown scorer's table and went on beat the Orlando Magic 100-93 for a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Chauncey Billups scored 28 points. Three came on a disputed shot at the end of the third quarter. Billups officially made a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left in the third. But the scoreboard clock wasn't operating and officials had to guess as to whether his shot would have counted if the clock were operating. TV replays showed it would not have counted had the clock been working.
The shot put Detroit ahead 78-76. Tayshaun Prince scored 17 and Richard Hamilton had 16 on cold 4-for-18 shooting. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson each had 22 for Orlando. The Magic self-destructed with 19 turnovers.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Orlando.
In last night's other NBA playoff game, the New Orleans Hornets ran away from San Antonio in the second half to post a 102-84 win and a 2-0 series lead. Chris Paul led the charge with 30 points and 12 assists. Peja Stojakovic hit five 3-pointers and scored 25 points for the Hornets, who've won both home games by wide margins.
New Orleans is the first team to put San Antonio in an 0-2 playoff hole since 2001, when the Spurs were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
The series now goes to San Antonio for two games starting with Game 3 Thursday night.
In other NBA news:
- The Phoenix Suns have granted coach Mike D'Antoni's request that he be allowed to speak with other teams about job possibilities. The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks have bench vacancies and would appear to be the leading suitors. But Phoenix GM Steve Kerr indicates he still wants to persuade D'Antoni to stay with the Suns. He has two years left in his contract.
- The NBA has scheduled a news conference for today in L.A. where it is expected Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant will win his first MVP award. Bryant averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.84 steals while playing in all 82 games despite tearing a ligament in his right pinkie finger in February. He would be the first Laker to win the MVP award since Shaquille O'Neal won it in 2000.
- Detroit's Chauncey Billups was presented with the NBA's Walter J. Kennedy sportsmanship award for service. Billups has hosted a charity golf tournament in Detroit in each of the last three summers. He also is involved in work in Minneapolis and his hometown of Denver.