Rasheed fuels victory by Pistons

Posted: April 24, 2007

Rasheed Wallace usually needs to get mad at an official or face a late-game situation to get motivated.

The opening tip was enough for him last night.

Wallace blocked a shot and made a three-pointer on the opening possessions and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to help the Detroit Pistons beat the visiting Orlando Magic, 98-90, and take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

"Sheed has been very focused ever since we started practicing for the playoffs," Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups said. "You can see the difference in him. When he's like that, we're a difficult team to play."

Former teammate Carlos Arroyo, now with Orlando, agreed.

"It's so tough to defend them when he's stretching the defense shooting from the outside like a guard," Arroyo said. "He can also score inside and defend, so he really creates problems all over the place."

Wallace insisted the Pistons will not lack incentive in Game 3 on Thursday night in Orlando even though the Magic need to win four of five to eliminate the Eastern Conference's top seed.

"We can't let them get back into the series," Wallace said. "We have to get that third win."

In Game 2, Detroit's balance was too much.

Detroit's starters each scored at least 10 points and top reserve Antonio McDyess added nine points and 11 rebounds.

In another game:

* At Houston, Tracy McGrady scored 31 points as the Rockets overcame Carlos Boozer's 41 points and beat Utah, 98-90, to take a 2-0 lead in their playoff series. Houston went 34-for-38 from the foul line.

Noteworthy

* Cavaliers star LeBron James says his sprained left ankle won't keep him out of the playoffs. He said he'll be ready tomorrow for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.

Meanwhile, Washington forward Caron Butler had the cast removed from his broken right hand and was told to avoid contact for a week to 10 days.

* Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich was fined $25,000 by the NBA for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands during Saturday's playoff victory over Miami.

* Phoenix guard Leandro Barbosa ran away with the league's sixth man award. The Sixers' Kyle Korver finished fifth. *

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