When did the Pistons deliver the knockout punch? Well, the play-by-play and the replays will tell you it came when Billups faked Tony Allen off his feet and drew a foul with 0.1 seconds left that sent him to the line for the tie-breaking and game-deciding free throws. But a big assist came moments earlier when the Pistons were exiting their timeout and Tayshaun Prince noticed that Tony Allen had checked back in as a defender.
Chauncey Billups earns his trip to the winning free throws with a pump fake.
"Tay told Chauncey to give Tony Allen a pump fake because Tony was just coming in off the bench cold," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.
Billups confirmed the story, saying Prince gave the same message to Richard Hamilton knowing that one of the two was going to end up with the ball in his hands for the final shot.
"Anybody could have went for that [fake]," Garnett said afterward, cautioning everyone not to single out Tony Allen for blame. "This was a good game for us to learn from and dissect. We wanted to measure where we were, and like Paul said, I'd rather deal with [a loss] now than later. No one said this was going to be easy, and we just have to go through this type of process and learn from it."
But the part that scares me a little bit is the talk of finger pointing after the game (from the Globe):
"It was very odd. It kind of felt like the end of the world," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "It's a little different when we beat ourselves, you know what I'm saying? That's how I feel.
"It was a little dead [in the locker room]. It was the first game where I saw that guys were a little disappointed at each other. There was a lot of pointing fingers tonight for some reason . . . But it was nothing serious. We each got to look ourselves in the mirror and see what we do right [and wrong]. The rest will take care of itself."
I've said time and time again, the true character of this team will emerge when the finally have to face adversity. They had better put a clamp on that finger pointing and get back to the ubuntu quickly, or all this early season success will be for naught.