Friday, May 2, 2008

Pistons motor past 76ers, now face Magic

As predicted here at The Daily Hurt, the Detroit Pistons did indeed require six games to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers from the playoffs. Philadelphia got the jump on Detroit in this series and led 2 games to 1, & even by 10 points in game 4, before Detroit put the clamps down and won the last 3 games.
The end was swift and was brutal though as the Pistons hammered the 76ers 100-77 last night in Philadelphia. Chauncey Billups led the way for Detroit with 20 points and 7 assists and along with 24 points and 5 assists from Richard Hamilton, the Pistons were as good as home after the first period when they led by a margin of 30-12. Detroit won games five & six of this series by a combined 40 points.
Andre Iguodola had a disappointing series and averaged only 12 points per game. He finished with 16 points last night which led the 76ers, but he was largely a non factor.
Detroit now move onto the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they meet the well-rested Orlando Magic, who wrapped up their first round series against the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Orlando will have had four full day's rest before this series begins, which is in Detroit, on Saturday.
The Magic will be out to avenge last years ousting from the playoffs by Detroit, which they were swept 4-0 in the first round. Things have changed a lot since then and Orlando will be hoping Dwight Howard can carry his dominating performance from the first round of this years playoffs where he averaged, 22.6 points, a massive 18.2 rebounds & 3.8 blocked shots per game into this series. He will need to continue those type of super efforts if the Magic is to stand any chance of beating Detroit. The Pistons have much more experience & much more depth & strength inside with Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess & Jason Maxiell, so Howard can expect a tougher, more physical challenge than he faced against Toronto.
The Magic will need Rashard Lewis (19ppg, 8rpg) & the league's Most Improved Player, Hedo Turkoglu (17ppg, 8rpg, 5apg) to give Howard a lot of support against the always hard to beat Pistons. The teams split the season series 2-2.
This will be a tight series. Detroit will rely on the usual suspects of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince & Rasheed Wallace to do what they always do at this time of year and brush off another challenge from an up & coming team that thinks it's ready....Orlando will try not to become another one of those teams......this one will go the distance, but Detroit will be too strong, Pistons in 7.

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