Rajon Rondo - He was unstoppable in the first quarter. The highlight had to be the ball fake he put on Rasheed Wallace here. Check it out here. It is the first highlight. However, he got into some foul trouble and did not do a lot in the second half.
Glen Davis - This isn't Cleveland, Milwaukee or Toronto. It is Detroit. Welcome to the show.
Shooting - The Celtics shot 28.6% (4-14) from beyond the three point arc compared to the Pistons' 45% (9-20) success rate. Meanwhile Boston was 61.9% (13-21) from the line and Detroit was 87% (20-23) from the charity stripe. Those numbers go a long way in explaining how the Celtics lost a game in which they shot 49.3% from the field to the Detroit's 40.3%.
The Pistons - Classic example of "I don't like you but damn it I respect you." If you had to sum them up in one word it would be methodical. They just chug along, not getting too high or too low - outside of Rasheed Wallace of course. But they do so many little things well. They hit foul shots, do nice ball hand offs that are tough to guard, dominate the boards for stretches when it matters, randomly trap to disrupt the offense, sneak out for a fast break bucket occasionally and hit some back breaking three pointers. That team knows how to play together.
Pistons Bench - I was not overly impressed with Jarvis Hayes. I don't know much about his game but it seemed like he was taking shots that were a bit out of his range. And the results (1-6 from the field) seemed to reflect that. However, Jason Maxiell, Arron Afflalo and Lindsey Hunter are all guys that are good to bring off the bench.
Rip Hamiliton - Count me among the people that did not get the memo of Hamilton turning himself into a much improved three point shooter. He was 3-4 last night and currently sits at 45% on the year. That's up from 33% on his career. It is as if he got tired of people telling him he was like Reggie Miller without the three point shooting. Also I had no idea that Hamilton is 6-7.
Rasheed Walllace - Outside of Kevin Garnett Sheed is the one guy that I found myself watching the entire game. I was hoping that he would either throw a tantrum or get fouled by my end of the court and miss a free throw so I could yell, "Ball don't lie!" Neither happened. But Sheed is much bigger than I thought, works the refs the whole game and seems to play at a level that is somewhere between loafing and gliding. I think he'll have his legs in June.
Chauncey Billups - I do wonder why Rajon Rondo did not continue to exploit his speed advantage and get to the rack. Regardless Billups showed how to play the point. He started slow and made sure to get his teammates involved. He then dropped 18 points in the second half. It was not a good feeling to see Billups isolate and shoot over Rondo and Eddie House. He also runs a pretty nice pick and roll.
Tayshaun Prince - I'm convinced the Pistons are not a perennial power in the East if Prince does not care about his offensive game. He seems like the perfect teammate.
The crowd - The crowd's reaction to David Ortiz was one of the loudest of the evening. It's fantastic that he wasn't in the Mitchell Report. I'm not sure that Boston could have dealt with that. Speaking of the crowd. At one point during the final minute or so the place was going crazy. It was either after Eddie House's or Ray Allen's three pointer. There was a timeout and Lucky and company ran out to throw t-shirts into the crowd. It just struck me as completely unnecessary. It would be like Tommy Heinsohn maintaining his Tommy Point pace from the last few seasons. He doesn't have to because the Celtics make good plays all the time and are inherently exciting. Trust me. We knew we had to be loud at the end.
Excellent Foreshadowing Moment of the Night - I'm watching a replay of the game right now and was struck by the following exchange. It happened towards the end of the first quarter. But it could very well have happened with .1 second remaining in the game.
"How many jump shots do you see blocked in a game?" - Jon Barry
"If you're a coach you always tell your defense the cardinal sin of our defense is fouling a jump shooter. Make him make the shot. If he shoots over 50% it's a big night. You foul a guy he goes to the line, the majority of these great scorers, they're going to shoot 75-80%. That's bad basketball. Make him make the shot." - Hubie Brown
Officiating - The Pistons one because they hit their foul shots, were money from down town, played defense when it mattered and know how to win. However, the crowd was all over the refs. And it was not entirely unjustified. Billups' blatant bump of Rondo by the sideline was the no call that stood out the most. But there were some other head scratchers as well.
Bullet Points about the End of the Game
- Ray Allen's drive and reverse dunk with about 5 minutes left in the game lifted the Celtics, excited the crowd and immediately made me think, "I didn't know he had that in him." Give the Celtics credit for playing it smart with Allen and knowing when to rest him.
- I'm torn about Tony Allen guarding Billups at the end. The play before the foul it was effective and the Celtics were put in a position to win. And that foul could serve as a great learning experience for Allen. However, he had played very little all night, still seems to drag that leg around and has not been in those situations. Contrast that with James Posey who played about eleven more minutes, is not recovering from a horrific knee injury, is four inches taller than Allen and has a ring. If Posey can guard Dwayne Wade at the end of regulation in that type of situation (see November 16th game) he can guard Billups.
- The last shot: They called a timeout and got a fade away from Paul Pierce, who at that moment was 5-15 from the field. Why not give it to Garnett. And was House a decoy? Because he's not going to get a rebound. So if he's not getting a shot why play him? Finally leaving time on the clock was a rookie mistake. I've watched enough Pistons/Celtics games from the last few seasons to know that Detroit would pull it out. Remember this one. Bonus points for the Darko cameo. Huge bonus points.
Dan Shaughnessy - I saw him at the Fours from a distance and he seemed to be posing for pictures with people. A half hour later he was sitting about ten feet in front of me. I really wanted to heckle him but felt that it was poor form, especially given the fact that my ticket was a gift and I'd hate to cause any trouble for a long time season ticket holder.
Greg Dickerson - He was even closer than Shaughnessy to my seat. I was surprised by how much time he spent worrying about his suit and hair. At the same time he was a rabbit when it came to getting to the court during any stoppage of play. At one point I yelled, "Kick his ass" when Dickerson started to mess around with Lucky. And I meant it too. I wanted him to drop Lucky. However, it was loud and no one seemed to hear me.
Lucky - Apparently the people in my section who actually go to every game really like him. He was talking to the woman next to me for a while and I decided I should not heckle Lucky. This goes back to not making a disturbance in someone else's seats.
Bill Simmons - At one point during the longest twenty second time out ever I scanned the crowd and saw the Sports Guy. It was pretty cool. Well after the game I randomly found myself right by him as we exited the building. Keep in mind I've been reading his column since the end of his Digital City days and frequently used quotes from him such as away messages in college. At the same time I'm not big on approaching famous people. It's pretty lame. And I definitely don't believe in talking to strangers when they are eating, in bathrooms, or really doing anything, such as watching a game. However, we were just walking so why not? In the end I either wussed out or just didn't want to be that guy. By the way here's an old Simmons quotes that always killed me:
"I would take a blood transfusion from Charlie Sheen before I ever laid points with Ty Detmer on the road."