The AP reports: There is a reason the Detroit Pistons have been to five consecutive Eastern Conference finals. They proved it on Saturday, even without their All-Star point guard to hold things together in front of a hostile crowd. Richard Hamilton scored 32 points and Hedo Turkoglu missed a layup with time running out as the Pistons beat the Orlando Magic 90-89 to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Pistons became the first team to win on the road in the second round this postseason, and can clinch their sixth consecutive conference finals appearance when this series returns to Detroit on Tuesday. All of it happened with Chauncey Billups watching in a sport coat on the bench after straining a hamstring in Game 3… Tayshaun Prince scored 17 for Detroit, including an 11-foot runner for the go-ahead basket with 8.9 seconds left. Antonio McDyess added eight points and 14 boards. The Pistons controlled the tempo in the second half after falling behind by 15 in the third quarter, deflated the Magic transition game that gassed up its Game 3 win and pounded Dwight Howard in the paint. Stat Notes: Both teams shot a similar FG% (46%, give or take a percent) but the Magic nailed 10-of-18 three-pointers, the Pistons just 4-of-13. But the Pistons got a few more shot attempts, and made a few more free throws. The Pistons had a slight rebounding edge and an 18 to 13 assists edge. And Detroit barely turned the ball over, though Orlando controlled it pretty well, too.

For the Pistons, Hamilton had 32 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Tayshaun Prince had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists (but 4 turnovers). Rasheed Wallace needed 15 shots to get 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Antonio McDyess had 8 points and 14 rebounds as a starter. Jason Maxiell was surprisingly quiet off the bench.

For the Magic, Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points but just 2 rebounds and one more turnover than assist. Jameer Nelson, Maurice Evans and Rashard Lewis each scored 15. Dwight Howard (3-of-12, only 2 free throw attempts) had a miserable 8 points, 12 rebounds and little else.