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Garden Party Continues as Celtics Look to Go Up 2-0

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Detroit Pistons (0-1, 8-4) at Boston Celtics (1-0, 9-6)
Eastern Conference Finals Game 2
Thursday, May 22
8:30 PM ET
TV:ESPN
TD Banknorth Garden   
 
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The question going into game one was whether rest or rhythm would be the better advantage.  Apparently, rhythm was better because the Pistons came out sluggish and seemed a step slow all night and the Celtics took over from the beginning.  But, the Celtics can't depend on the Pistons coming out the same way in this game.   We saw it in their first two series, the Pistons have a way of turning it on when they need to and they see this game as a must win for them.   The Celtics need to be ready for them to come out strong and have to match their intensity. 
 
One of the keys to this game is at the point guard position and Rondo won that matchup easily in the first game.   Billups looked as though his hamstring is bothering him more than he has let on.  But, it may also have been rust that kept him from playing well as he played better in the 4t quarter than he did in the first 3.  I expect to see Chauncey play better in game 2 and  Rondo needs to keep up his aggressiveness on both ends of the court and make Chauncey work on the defensive end as well as for any points that he gets. 
 
Perk came out very strong and was grabbing up rebounds right and left in the first game.  This set the tone for the rest of the team and got them going early.  The Celtics need Perk to come out aggressively in this game also.   We need his defense and rebounding as the Pistons have a strong front line and we can expect them to come out strong themselves.  The team that wins the rebounding battle usually wins the game so the Celtics must be aggressive in going after rebounds.  
 
It is amazing how much the officiating has affected games.   For some reason, the Celtics just can't get the calls. In  game 1 against the Pistons, the Celtics had 44 points in the paint compared to 22 for the Pistons. So, the Celtics pretty much spent the whole game in the paint while the Pistons were  settling for jumpers. So, the Celtics should have had more free throws, especially with the physical play of the Pistons on defense. The Pistons shot 6 more free throws than the Celtics.  Even Peter Vescey questioned this on NBA TV this morning. The Celtics are at home and should be getting the home court calls, but they haven't gotten them. 
 
The Pistons see this game as a must win for them as they have to steal a game in Boston to win and they feel that this may be their best chance.   They will come out with a lot more fire than they did game 1 and the Celtics must be ready for them.
 

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:   Rajon Rondo vs Chauncey Billups
SG:   Ray Allen vs Rip Hamilton
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs Antonio McDyess
C:     Kendrick Perkins vs Rasheed Wallace 
 
Key Matchups
  Vs   
Rajon Rondo vs Chauncey Billups
Rondo won the first round between these two point guards.  He clearly out played him on both ends of the floor.    Billups was a step slow the entire game and it appears as though his hamstring may be bothering him more than he originally let on.  This will remain to be a kep to this series as Rondo needs to set the pace of the game and continue to push the ball and set up the Celtics offense.  He did a great job in the first game and will need to continue to do so in this game. 

  Vs 
Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
Pierce picked up right where he left off in game 7 to be aggressive on both ends of the court in this game.  He drove to the basket, hit assorted jumpers and was aggressive on defense.  Prince didn't seem to have an answer for him.  Pierce will need to continue to be be the go to guy and be aggressive for the Celtics to succeed. 

Honorable Mention
Ray Allen vs Rip Hamilton
Ray is still struggling with his shot, but he did so many other good things for the Celtics in game 1.  He drove to the hoop, took charges,  and played excellent defense.  The Celtics tried getting Ray going early but he just can't find his shot.   Ray is a scorer, though and one of these games his shots will start to fall, and it can't come too soon.   In the meantime, his aggressiveness on defense and his other contributions are helping the team. 

Keys to the Game
Don't Let Up   The Pistons did not play well in the last game.  The Celtics can't get a false sense of accomplishment and expect them to play as poorly in this game.  The Pistons have a way of turning it on when they need to and I have a feeling we will see them playing a lot better in this game.  The Celtics need to come out strong in this game again and play hard for 48 minutes.  Don't give the Pistons an inch. 

Defense and Rebounding
   The Celtics defense in game 1 was superb and it set the tone for the Celtics entire game.  Turnovers by the Pistons became easy shots for the Celtics.  They need to be just as aggressive defensively in this game and play solid team defense, not allowing any easy baskets.  The Celtics also need to crash the boards.  The team that wins the rebounding battle wins the game.  Perk came out early grabbing every rebound and we will need that again for the Celtics to get off to a good start.

Ball Movement   The Celtics moved the ball very well in game one and were able to get inside and to find the open man.  The Celtics had 27 assists on 36 field goals and they will need to continue to move the ball as they did in game 1.   When they have good ball movement, they are hard to beat.  When the ball stops moving, they struggle. 

X-Factor
Home Court Advantage and Officiating
The Celtics have won all 9 of their home games so far in the Playoffs.   Hopefully the home court advantage will hold true in this one as well.  As mentioned above, the Celtics didn't get the calls in game one in spite of being at home.  Hopefully they can get some calls going their way in this game.