ECF: Pistons vs. Celtics
This is a feature from guest blogger Christopher Sells
Eastern Conference Finals: Detroit Pistons v. Boston Celtics. If you’re surprised, then you probably haven’t been paying much attention.
Tonight marks the start of what we all assumed was coming from the beginning of the season. Cleveland tried their best to throw everybody off, but it didn’t work. So these two teams, who have the best two records in the entire League, will square off for a trip to the Finals.
This is old hat for Detroit. I can’t remember the last time they weren’t in the ECF (upon research, it was 2002. Coincidentally, this is also when the Celtics made their last appearance). This is a late spring ritual for the Pistons and their roster is packed with guys who have been here before. As we found out last night with the Spurs, experience does matter.
The Celtics have the homecourt advantage. This is important becasue they have yet to lose a home game in the Playoffs. Of course, they’ve also not won on the road. Their main players– Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen– have each reached this step, only to fail to get to play in the season’s final series. Since the season began, it has been made clear that anything less than a trip to the Finals will be considered failure.
Since allowing their series with Philadelphia to be more competitive than it should have been, the Pistons dispatched the Magic in five games, two of them without injured point guard Chauncey Billups. The Celtics have seen both series they’ve been involved in go the distance, blowing Atlanta out in a Game Seven victory and getting a Herculean effort from Pierce to squeeze by the Cavs. Fatigue could be a factor, as the Celtics have played a lot of games and don’t have the deepest bench to work with. However, Detroit may only go as far as Billups’ as yet untested hamstring will let them.
With Allen looking for his jumper and the Celtics trying to figure out this whole road playoff thing, I’m thinking that Detroit should win this series in six. Their depth and experience should allow them another trip to the Finals, with another shot at a champagne-soaked victory party next month.