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Published: Saturday, 12/4/2010

Magic beats stomach virus, drops Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- As player after player went down with a nasty stomach bug, all the Orlando Magic could do was laugh.

Then they took the court and won anyway.

Brandon Bass scored a career-high 27 points, and Orlando overcame a stomach virus that sidelined four key players to beat the Detroit Pistons 104-91 Friday night.

The Magic was without star center Dwight Howard, and Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, and Mickael Pietrus were also unavailable.

"We were just kind of relaxed. I think that was a good thing for us to be in here relaxed and kind of joking around," Bass said.

"We were all just kind of making it a little joke -- that, 'Man, we're only going to have seven, eight players.' "

It was actually nine players, but Ryan Anderson went down with a sprained right foot after playing less than a minute. Even so, the Magic hardly looked depleted, shooting 60 percent from the field.

In addition to Bass' big game, Vince Carter (25) and Marcin Gortat (14) added season highs in scoring, and Orlando won its sixth straight.

"We're a very deep basketball team that believes in each other," Carter said.

"They were shooting at a high level, and we wanted to stay close and give ourselves a chance to win."

Gortat and Chris Duhon started in place of Howard and Nelson, but it was the 6-foot-8 Bass who made the biggest contribution.

He made his first 11 shots from the field before finally missing from the baseline late in the fourth quarter.

"I always watch Jordan and Kobe and they talk about being in the zone," Bass said with a smile.

"I don't know if I was in the zone, but it's definitely a feeling."

Tayshaun Prince scored 30 points for Detroit, which has lost four straight.

Even with Howard out, the Pistons managed only three offensive rebounds.

"I guess they just wanted it more than us," Detroit's Charlie Villanueva said. "They were short-handed, they came ready to play. It seemed like it was hard for us to get into a flow out there. Everything seems hard for us."

Orlando trailed 55-54 at halftime and was having trouble stopping Detroit without Howard's intimidating presence inside, but the Magic made up for their defensive struggles with impressive shooting. Quentin Richardson made two 3-pointers and Rashard Lewis added another as part of a 14-1 run in the third quarter that put Orlando ahead 70-60.

Prince responded with six straight points of his own, and the Pistons cut the deficit to one late in the period, but Bass drove along the baseline for a dunk to stop the Detroit run.

A 3-pointer by Richardson early in the fourth made it 81-73, and a fast-break layup by Carter put the Magic ahead 97-84.

The Magic ended up holding an opponent under 100 points for the 15th time in 19 games this season.



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