Archive for May 31st, 2008

Why the Celtics reached the Finals

NBA.com writes: “5) They finally figured out how to win on the road. After failing to do so against Cleveland and Atlanta, Boston managed to pull off two victories in Detroit against one of the best home teams in basketball. 4) Outside of a disappointing Game 2, the C’s stayed strong at home. Boston went undefeated on its homecourt in its first two series and didn’t blink after dropping one at the Garden. 3) After having a rough postseason, Ray Allen finally awoke for big performances in Games 5 and 6. The “Big Three” was starting to look more like a dynamic duo, but Allen pulled himself together in the final two games of the series, erupting for 29 points in Game 5 and posting 17 on Friday. 2) The Celtics figured out how to disrupt every aspect of Tayshaun Prince’s game. Boston held him to 6.3 points per game over the prior three contests and didn’t stop in Game 6. He struggled, going 3-of-10 from the field on Friday. Even after coming up with a crucial steal in the final minutes, he reverted back to his abnormal form as James Posey came from behind, swiping the ball straight out of his hands and dashing Detroit’s final hopes. The staple of Pistons’ basketball looked anything but against Boston. 1) Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. When you combine the “Truth” with the “Big Ticket” and put them against the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, you get 44 points per game and a 4-2 series victory.”

May 30: Celtics 89, Pistons 81

The AP reports: Paul Pierce scored 27 points, Ray Allen had 17 and Kevin Garnett added 16 to lift the Boston Celtics to an 89-81 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals… After playing two Game 7s, the Celtics will get a needed break before hosting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Thursday night… The Pistons blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost in Game 6 of the conference finals for the third straight year. They were eliminated on their home court for the first time during a six-year run that included a trip to the conference finals each year and the 2004 title… Chauncey Billups played well and Richard Hamilton scored 21, but the rest of their teammates had lackluster efforts—especially Rasheed Wallace… Wallace scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting and had three turnovers in what might’ve been his last game as a Piston and could’ve been Flip Saunders’ last as Detroit’s coach. President of basketball operations Joe Dumars will likely make some sort of moves on the bench, the court or both.

Ticker reports: The Celtics, who avoided a third straight Game Seven this postseason, outscored the Pistons 29-13 in the final period to secure the victory. Boston used a powerful 23-6 run to seal the win… After Jason Maxiell gave Detroit a 74-72 edge with a fadeaway jumper, Pierce sliced through the lane and completed a three-point play to give the Celtics the lead for good with 5:25 remaining… Billups scored 29 points for Detroit, which lost in the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight season. The defeat already has raised questions about the job security of coach Flip Saunders.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 44.4%, the Pistons 42.0%. Both teams were awful from three-point range. The Celtics hit 20-of-27 free throws, the Pistons 17-of-21. Rebounding was close. The Pistons had 19 assists, the Celtics just 14.

For the Celtics, Pierce (8-of-12, 10-of-13 free throws) had 27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Ray Allen (6-of-12, 3-of-8 threes) was alive with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Kevin Garnett (just 7-of-16 with a mere 4 free throw attempts) had 16 points and just 6 rebounds with 4 assists. Kendrick Perkins had 7 points and 7 rebounds. Rajon Rondo needed 13 shots for his 11 points and 4 rebounds. James Posey had 4 rebounds and two steals.

For the Pistons, Billups (9-of-20) had 29 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Richard Hamilton (9-of-14) had 21 points and 2 blocks. But then, a severe dropoff: Tayshaun Prince (3-of-10) had 10 points and 4 rebounds. Jason Maxiell (3-of-4) had 7 with 2 steals off the bench. Antonio McDyess (2-of-3) had just 6 points and 6 rebounds. Rasheed Wallace (awful 2-of-12) had 4 points and 10 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey (just 1-of-4) scored 4.

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