The Detroit Pistons beat up Orlando physically and mentally.
They shoved Dwight Howard out of his comfort zone and pushed the Magic's buttons during heated exchanges, leading to Detroit's 91-72 win last night at Auburn Hills, Mich., in Game 1 of their second-round series.
"Mentally, we have to keep our heads," Howard said. "Detroit is going to talk and push. We knew that coming in, but we got too frustrated."
The game got heated at times, leading to technicals against Rasheed Wallace along with Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
"You can't rattle us," Wallace said. "We ain't no punks."
Howard had a relatively quiet night with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Howard injured his left thumb trying to get a rebound late in the third quarter and played with blue tape protecting it.
"It's fine," Howard said after getting an X-ray on his shooting hand. "It's just a bruise. I'll be all right."
The Magic can only hope they'll be OK, coming off a disheartening performance a year after Detroit swept them in the first round en route to its fifth straight Eastern Conference finals appearances.
Just when it seemed the third-seeded Magic had a chance to upset the second-seeded team in Game 1, as the Philadelphia 76ers did in the first round, the Pistons dominated them at both ends of the court.
Turkoglu grabbed an offensive rebound early in the second half, dribbled up the court, and didn't break stride on an uncontested dunk as Wallace and Chauncey Billups watched.
Pistons coach Flip Saunders, who usually lets his veteran team fix its own mistakes on the fly, called a timeout and let his players have it.
What did he say?
"Probably what 22,000 people in the arena were saying," Saunders recalled. "What's going on? Where is everybody?"
The Pistons showed up and Orlando bowed out.
Detroit took control with a 19-3 run in the third quarter and after the Magic pulled within 7, the Pistons put them away with a 17-4 burst to open the fourth quarter.
"I don't think I even looked up at the scoreboard for a while," Howard said. "It's disappointing."
Billups had 19 points and seven assists, despite resting in the fourth quarter, and Richard Hamilton scored 17 to outscore Orlando's starting backcourt by 25 points. Billups blew past the Magic whenever he wanted off the dribble and Hamilton got open easily around screens for midrange jumpers.
Tayshaun Prince scored 12 points and Jason Maxiell had 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter, showing surprising touch on jumpers and free throws.
"When you play the Pistons with all the people they have, if what you give up is a Jason Maxiell 17-footer, you think you've taken away their better option," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But he stepped up big time and did something different."
The Pistons will host Game 2 tomorrow night.
"We got outplayed badly," Van Gundy said. "We need to bounce back."
Turkoglu and Lewis both scored 18 for the Magic, who didn't get much offensively out of anybody other than those two and Howard. The next-leading scorers for them were Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling, both of whom scored 7 points.
Orlando relied on 3-point shooting to eliminate the Toronto Raptors in five games, but made just two of 15 against the Pistons. It also struggled at the line, missing half of its 20 attempts.
Hornets 101, Spurs 82 - David West scored a career playoff-high 30 points to power host New Orleans over San Antonio in Game 1 of their second-round Western Conference series.
Chris Paul added 17 points, 13 assists, and 4 steals for New Orleans, which trailed by as many as 11 in the first half but stormed into the lead for good in the third quarter.
Tim Duncan had a rare terrible night, going 1 of 9 from the field for a career playoff-low 5 points and three rebounds.
The Hornets swarmed Duncan with double teams throughout the game, forcing San Antonio to look for points from outside.
The Spurs hit 12 3-pointers in the game, but also missed 19.
The Hornets dominated the inside, outrebounding San Antonio, 50-34, and outscoring the Spurs, 46-26, in the paint. The Hornets also shot 50 percent, while the Spurs finished at 40.8 percent.
Tyson Chandler had 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots for New Orleans. Peja Stojakovic added 22 points for the Hornets on 9-of-15 shooting, while reserve Bonzi Wells added 10 points, all but 2 in the fourth quarter.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 23 points and Manu Ginobili had 19. Bruce Bowen added 17 points and Michael Finley 13, but San Antonio needed more help inside from Duncan and Kurt Thomas, who had only 2 points and two rebounds.