Boston Defense Dooms Detroit in Game 3
The Celtics came into Detroit needing to win a game and they accomplished their mission with a 94-80 trouncing of the Pistons, earning their first road win of the post season. The Celtics set the tone early as they scored the first 11 points of the game before Rasheed Wallace finally got a layup to stop the run with 3:10 gone in the first quarter. The Pistons went on a run of their own to take their only lead of the game at 17-15 with 1:28 left in the first quarter. The Celtics finished the quarter with a 10-0 run to give them a 25-17 lead at the end of 1.
KG picked up his 2nd foul with 7 minutes left in the first quarter and went to the bench. PJ Brown played very well in Garnett’s absence. PJ finished the game with 4 points and 4 rebounds and he played solid defense in 21 minutes. Ray Allen also got in early foul trouble, picking up 2 fouls and going to the bench with 4 minutes left in the first. James Posey got the call and played an excellent game finishing with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals.
The Pistons started the second quarter with an 8-4 run but the Celtics continued to be aggressive and built the lead to 50-32 at half time. The Celtics took their biggest lead at 73-49 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter and took a 73-55 lead into the final period. The Pistons made a run in the fourth, cutting the lead to 9 with just under 3 minutes to play but the Celtics hung on for the 94-80 victory. The Celtics bench, which let them down in game 2, put in a strong performance in this game with 23 points and excellent play on the defensive end as well.
Rajon Rondo once again outplayed his counterpart on the Pistons as he finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists and ran the ball at the Pistons at every opportunity. Billups on the other hand once again looked as though he was slowed by the hamstring injury as he finished with just 6 points. Rodney Stuckey had a strong performance at the back up point guard spot, finishing with 17 points. Doc went with Sam Cassell to back up Rondo in this game. Sam came out rusty to start as his first shot was blocked and then he turned it over on the next possession, but he settled down and finished with 5 points in 8 minutes.
Ray Allen still struggled with his shot but was very active on the defensive end and played very well in spite of his shots not falling as he finished with 14 points (5-16), 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Paul Pierce didn’t dominate on the offensive end as he had just 11 points, but his defense on Tayshaun Prince was impressive as he held him to just 4 points. Pierce also had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block.
As he did in the first game, Perk set the tone early. He finished with a double double scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds along with a steal and a block. Perk’s interior defense also made a big difference in this Celtics’ win. KG also had a double double with 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. It is an amazing thing when your power forward leads both teams in assists. Big Baby played six minutes and finished with just 2 points. Leon Powe, Tony Allen and Eddie House did not play.
The Celtics’ defense was the difference in this game as they held the Pistons to 38% shooting for the game. The Celtics were the more aggressive team from start to finish. They attacked the boards and had a 44-28 rebounding edge. The scoring was evenly distributed as the Celtics had 6 players in double figures. The officiating was not a factor in this game as it was pretty much evenly called. The Celtics shot 30 free throws to 26 for the Pistons. There were a few blown calls on both sides but there wasn’t the bias that we have seen in previous games. The Celtics now reclaim their home court advantage and once again are in control, up 2-1 in the series. The gorilla is off their backs and they have once again answered the critics who were already counting them out after the loss in game 2.