Celtics Take Game One

by | May 20, 2008 | 33 comments

This was the game Detroit was primed to steal, Game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against a tired Celtics squad that had to play 14 tough games going into Tuesday night’s battle. Detroit was rested and ready, but it was the Celtics who came out with fire, going on an 8-0 run to start off the game. While Detroit looked flat, The Celtics didn’t skip a beat in their 88-79 victory on their home court to take the first game of the series.

Key Points:

  • When the Pistons came out flat and couldn’t hit their shots we knew we were going to be in for a long night. They did get back in the game quickly and were down just one at the half but you could tell they just didn’t have the spark to win.
  • Great defensive effort by the Celtics, who never really let the Pistons get into their offense, hassled everyone and contested every pass. They forced the Pistons into 13 turnovers and a 43% shooting night. Rondo could have starred in The Thomas Crown Affair, dude stole so many balls directly from the hands of Pistons it looked like a game of NBA Live with fouls turned off.
  • Stuckey had a solid night going 3-for-5 for 9 points and 3 boards. He played well when Chauncey was on the floor and when he wasn’t. In fact I wasn’t surprised Flip had him in the ball game late in the game with Chauncey sitting. Also nice to see him get a lot of love from the ESPN Crew.
  • Ticky tack fouls called on Rip all night and that little elbow to Garnett didn’t look all that bad, but Breen and company kept harping on it. I’m not saying it was nothing but I have seen much worse. Rip needs to concentrate on his shot when it’s not falling instead of bitching about getting or not getting a call.
  • Thank you Antonio for keeping the Pistons in the game when nobody else could knock down a shot. Diggity played harder than anyone Tuesday night and it showed, his putback was particularly nice along with his 14 point, 11 board double-double.
Antonio McDyess
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  • I totally understand it on Billups’ side with the hamstring and all, but I am convinced we lost because Sheed felt the Need to rock the tights. What’s up with that?
  • How frustrating was it to watch Garnett knock down OPEN shot after WIDE OPEN shot all night long? KG finished with 26 , and Pierce knocked in 22.
  • When PJ Brown and Eddie House and getting the best of you something has got to change.
  • Though it didn’t go Detroit’s way, I’m not all that disappointed. I still think Detroit takes one in Boston.
  • “You had Detroit coming in well-rested; this was a perfect game for them to come and steal and we were aware of that,” Pierce said. “They probably figured we were tired from the last series, while they practiced, but we came out with extra focus and extra energy.” Via The Detroit News
  • Maxiell didn’t provide the much needed spark off the bench like he usually does. Jason played just 17 minutes and scored 2. I’m not asking too much, but Jason needs to make his presence felt.
  • Rip, a awful and out of sync 5-for-13 for 15 points. Rip had just three points at the half.
  • Pretty much the only thing Sheed has to gloat about is this.

Courtesy of The Detroit Pistons, The NBA and ESPN
  • Yes Sheed’s dunk was nasty, but going 3-for-12 for 11 points is not going to get the job done in the EFC. His defense wasn’t Sheed like either letting Garnett get open looks all night and shooting right over the top of him. When he did try to establish himself down low it worked, too bad he settled on outside shots and 3’s. And his three’s just aren’t falling lately.
  • Detroit got murdered in the paint 22-44.
  • 14 Piston Bench Points, 15 from the Celtics.
  • Board war tied at 37.
  • Too bad the Pistons couldn’t keep things flowing when they took the lead in the first half, but like most of us feared the rust clearly showed, especially on Mr. Billups.
  • NBA.com Highlights of The Game.
  • Tayshaun Price 16 points on 7-for-16 shooting with 4 boards and 2 assists. While he played great in the first half he seemed to disappear in the second, and part of that wasn’t his fault. When Tay is hot they need to ride him, instead he defers and takes over when needed. He just didn’t do it on Tuesday. He did have a nice first half highlight reel, his patented floater is just unguardable.

Tayshaun Prince
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  • Hard time guarding the Pick and Roll all night long.
  • Lindsey Hunter came in for a short 12 minute stint causing a little trouble on the defensive end and knocking down a much needed three.
  • Detroit’s biggest lead 4, Boston’s 12.
  • Tayshaun’s three as the shot clock buzzed should be mentioned.
  • Got to give Matt Dery props for wearing his Cartoon Sheed T-Shirt during the game for good luck, too bad it didn’t work. Get rid of it Matt, it’s officially bad luck like my Maxiell jersey I wore for game one of the Sixers series.
  • Chauncey looked like he’s been idle for 13 days starting off by knocking down a three in the first half and nothing much else until it was too late. Chauncey finished with just 9 points on 3-for-6 shooting with just 2 assists.
Chauncey Billups
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  • “As bad as we played, we were only down by six points with five minutes left,” Billups said. “That was encouraging.” Via The Detroit News
  • If anything, Boston shouldn’t be allowed to win a ring for the simple fact that Brian Scalabrine and Scott Pollard are on the squad.
  • I don’t know who it was but one of the broadcasters mentioned that the Officials give Sheed a long rope on Tech calls. Seriously?
  • At one point the Pistons were just throwing the ball into the hands of the Celtics. And on the other end, they never could cash in on their opportunities when they got them.
  • Just 15 assists on the night for the Pistons, while Boston racked up 27.
  • “KG is one of those (players) that if he gets off to a good start and hits the first two or three jumpers, he can get it rolling,” said Saunders, who coached Garnett in Minnesota. “I think he was extra excited to play against Rasheed (Wallace), gets pumped up to play. He came out and I thought he set the tone early.” Via MLive
  • We need a strong game from Sheed on Thursday, I’m calling it.
  • “We’ll be right,” Rasheed Wallace assured afterward. “It’s just one game. They got it. Good for them. But there’s a Game 2 Thursday.” Via The Detroit Free Press


  1. twalch

    Rip needs to stop handling the ball. There was a point in the second half where I held my breath every time he had the ball on a fast break. We were getting back into the game and he had 2 or 3 turnovers real close together. He also was having to create a lot off the dribble, which he is not good at. He acts like a whiny baby when he gets a foul called on him or doesn’t get a call on the way to the hoop.

    I agree with the tights comment about Sheed. Maybe he was trying to show team unity with Chauncey. Maybe it was his homage to Dwynae Wade…probably not, though.

    Rondo was good tonight…steals…quickness. Hopefully he doesn’t turn into Boobie 2.0 and burn our butts the whole series. They both look like they are about 14 years old, too.

    I agree with you Nat, I think they can take one in Boston. Paul Pierce needs to put on his ass a few times by Maxie or the Rattler (or Walter?).

    I am also going through Blaha withdrawls because I really can’t stand these announcers…or maybe I just like George and Greg Kelser much better. Breen and Van Gundy are actually pretty good….light years better than Bill Walton.

  2. Natalie Sitto

    Twalch – Agreed on Rip, I hate to see him try to create his own shot. When he was getting the ball of screens (which wasn’t too many times) he was knocking it down.

    Ahhh….Blaha and Kelser and thankfully I don’t remember watching a Walton broadcast game all season. Life is good.

  3. claire

    we’ll bounce back. we’ve never been good after a long break, anyways. during the regular season, whenever we had a few days of rest, we came back losing the first game that we played. sadly it happened again last night, but i don’t doubt that we’ll bounce back.

  4. ric

    claire, well said…rust gets easily grown in pistons blood after 3+ days….all star weekend and at the end of the reg season to start with first round. nat, couldn’t agree with you more about the pick and roll by garnett/pierce all night long, i kept screaming to put afflalo/maxiell on it, but thats just my recommendation…..i hope thats one of the things they focus on practicing for game 2. rip, sheed and chaunce were not themselves, can’t win like this. i mentioned before, pistons’ main concern should be themselves not who they’re playing in the ecf, they could anybody/anywhere if they play their game. i also agree on rip’s taking shots off the dribble, however i won’t single him out….many of the pistons play were iso, can’t win like that either.

  5. James

    The pick and roll (specifically with Pierce and KG) accounted for a large portion of their offense. If we can some what limit their effectiveness they will really struggle to score. I agree with ric…I would like to see Maxiel guarding KG since he has the quickest feet of any of our big man defenders. Dyess and Sheed are just to slow to show on the screen and then try and recover to stop KG’s jumpers.

    But I’m still very optimistic about this series as long as Chauncey was just rusty and not limited by his hamstring. The only starter who had a good game was Dyess…Sheed/Rip/Chauncey/Tay all didn’t play too well…Pierce and KG played great…yet we were only down 6 with 5 minutes left in their building.

    Stuckey played very well. He was our only player who consistently got in the paint. I wouldn’t be surprised if Flip ran more of the offense through him on Thursday.

  6. khajatiger

    I know we will bounce back and I did figure taht this would be a hard game to win even though it might have been our best chance because I figured that Boston would come out to play. Nat you said something about Sheed on KG and I must say that while I agree, Sheed and KG both have such great fade away jumpers that it’s sooo hard to defend them. Which is one of the reasons that I love watching KG. I think the bad luck was Sheed wearing the legs, he hasn’t worn them at all in the playoffs and then wore them yesterday, that’s what was bad luck for us!!! I am also going to wonder about CB if he doesn’t come out with some energy in game 2, and will wonder if he really is 100%, I understand it’s going to be hard coming back from your first hamstring injury, but still CB you can’t play that tentitive!!!! I also was wondering why Tay was looking to defer on the offensive end, in that 1st half he really did have some space from Pierce and should have put the shot up, but instead that shot usually got into Rip’s hand and he would put up a brick!!!!! Come on Tay I know your better than that!!!!!

  7. ric

    james, boston’s pick and roll of garnett/pierce is the big key to their offense. this breaks the pistons defense and it opens a lot of opportunities for them. im a little surprise that it didn’t seem like pistons focus on this issue during the week off, or didn’t they see game 7 of clev/celts where pierce/garnett did the same all night. i guess they thought prince would be able to handle it….like prince predicted, guarding iguodala/turkgolu are way too different than pierce, coz of garnett. pierce is listed 6-6 and afflalo 6-5, he can give prince a breathing on defense, amir woould be another piece to consider but maxiell is definitely an asset in that issue, everybody knows hes our best pick and roll defender.

  8. toclark77


    Have you heard anything about Rip possibly being suspended for the elbow on Garnett and do you have video of the play? I would be pretty upset if he got suspended for an elbow that only hit air but they mentioned during the game and in an article in the Daily Dime on ESPN that the league will review it and he could be facing a one game suspension. If he gets suspended after the league looked the other way when Garnett shoved a ref I will not be happy.


  9. Natalie Sitto

    I have heard them mention it, but I can’t believe they would actually suspend him for it. I guess we wait.

    I didn’t pull the clip of it.

    I have seen much, much worse so for them to suspend Rip for that in the Eastern Conference Finals would make me have to think….they do want Celtics Lakers and they will do whatever it takes to get it.

    Don’t get me started.

  10. ric

    nat, as much as i hate to think about the conspiracy of getting lakers/celtics to the finals we need to forget about this theory based on the outcome for the past years….san antonio, has always been there and didn’t really catch a lot tv ratings. if anything, wouldn’t be fair enough to say that some people wants lakers to play pistons for their revenge for 2004, or pistons revenge on spurs? so somewhere along the line, we are part of the nba finals drama/history for tv rating purposes.

  11. uyen

    I’m upset about the loss in Boston but for some godly reason I didn’t get physically sick like I normally do when they have lost during the first two rounds. I wholeheartedly believe they will win the series.

  12. Natalie Sitto

    Ric, I’m just saying it doesn’t warrant a suspension. I was LeBron Take down C-Webb hard in the ECF last year without even a mention.

    Rip was called for a foul, not a flagrant so for them to pull him from a game would be suspect. And there is no doubt a Celtics/Lakers series is wanted.

    Thats all I’m saying, I won’t cry foul Pistons got outplayed plain and simple, lets get it done in game two.

    Uyen, glad to see your doing well today.

  13. ric

    uyen, just think of it like this….remember the first time pistons lost in the first and second round….after each of those lost, they won the next game and eventually controlled/won the series. thats my take on this lost.

  14. ric

    nat, no doubt many people want lakers/celts…and especially for people whos in LA….its beyond annoying-ness. thats another thing about the game last night, every single pistons should forget about the calls or mistake calls “get back on d! stop whinning for a call!!” i still believe, pistons in 5, worst, in 6

  15. Dizzle

    Natalie, I’m a long time reader. My girlfriend and I were visiting Boston and scalped some tickets to last night’s game. I just wanted to let you know that the Celtic fans are absolutely classless. Before the game and during the game, we were heckled but nothing too bad for wearing our Pistons gear. After the game was another story. As we exited the game, MALES were calling her a b—-, calling us homosexuals, and just being classless in every sense of the word. I attribute it mostly to alcohol and the fact that they haven’t seen many Eastern Conference Finals wins in the last 20 years so they don’t know how to act like champions. I just wanted to let everyone know what it’s like being the “enemy” in Boston and I sincerely hope that Piston fans act like the champs we are when the Celtic fans come to Detroit during the series. Everyone, please show them some class and let’s represent out team and our city well. Thanks.

  16. claire

    well, Sheed and everyone else had a pretty bad game last night, but for some reasons, his “we’ll be okay” comment makes me feel so much better. You can always count on Sheed to be optimistic after a bad loss.

    So, now we wait for game 2. Just to kill time, what does everyone think about the Bulls getting the number one pick?

  17. ric

    claire, i like they’re chances, but i like miami’s chances more, only because of wade and marion (assuming he’ll stay). miami could do a quick turnaround next season.

  18. Natalie Sitto

    Sorry to hear about your experience, but honestly I’m not surprised one bit. This coming from a crowd that chants Bullshit on every single foul call that doesn’t go their way.

    I knew it was going to be tough for any Piston fan going into that place as well as CLE…

    Thank you for holing it down for the fella’s and the rest of us last night. I’m going to have to say that you won’t have to worry about the Majority of Pistons fans at The Palace. In fact even after the game 5 loss against the Cavs in Detroit, it was the Cavs fans who were starting trouble, not Pistons fans.

    And they talk about our city.


  19. amer-ican prince

    I’m glad you put up the assist numbers, these guys never really play like they’ve been together for so long, they’re not a good passing team.

    I wanna know how much time Flip spent on defense and on offense too,cause neither were working.

    Tayshaun and Rasheed I felt were the laziest on defense, on either team.

    Sheed dunk was nice, but other than that if I didn’t know better I would say he tanked the game on purpose.

    Now can we stop saying they were tired last year, here we are again playing with no pride or heart. Except Dyess in the first half. that tip in was nice

    Ps anyone else notice how Chauncey’s a ball slower (not stopper) he slows the passing of the team too much. Every time he was out or at shooting guard we closed the gap and went on the run. When he came in the Celtics went on a run.( And I’m not just talking about this game only, this happens EVERY SINGLE GAME. )Don’t blame the injury for how he has played in the playoffs for the last couple years.

    Overall they are selfish, not aggressive, and too reliant on the bench to win the game for them (NEWSFLASH THE STARTERS ARE PAID TO WIN GAMES, the bench is supposed to help, not be the ones to take over)

    Tayshuan is still playing selfish and not commiting on the defensive end, and of course, no one is going to say anything about it.
    They can’t keep waiting for something else to wake them up.

    And why am I not surprised at their comments “it’s just one game, we’ll be fine” maybe they will maybe they won’t, but as hard as I’m trying, it is hard for me to go all out cheering for a team with kind of attitude.

    No wonder they had to institute a white out, cause even the fans are sick of this attitude, and aren’t cheering as loud.

  20. amer-ican prince

    by the way did anyone else notice sheed slapping joey crawford on the butt after that foul call? that was funny.

    And I thought Lindsey played well too. And I like that he’s showing some emotion at the loss as it said in the article

  21. ric

    sounds like your abandoning ship already prince….the comments “its only game one, we’ll be fine” is intended for the fans and themselves as a motivation not as an attitude cocky kinda’ way. besides, its true regardless of what the purpose of the comment was for. remember, playoffs is about adjustments and pistons adjustments for the last 2 round was pretty good enough to win those series, now its another adjustments they have to make, lets see how each team respond to the pierce/garnett pick and roll, wheather it’ll continue and be effective or whats detroit counter. i strongly believe this is c’s key offense, imagine if they didn’t have this while rondo/allen continue to struggle, what do they have left? game 2 we’ll tell us the story.

  22. ric

    and did anybody thought about what would happen to boston if they lost one game at home out of the first 2 game??? if pistons won game 1, the psychological hope for them is sabotage, they rather lose game 2 than game 1 to keep the pressure off….once pistons win game 2, bostons hope of winning on the road would be slimmer than winning a game on the road in atlanta, which they didn’t. trust me, game one was a must win for boston.

  23. elpopp0

    Did any one notice how they played Shout! and the final countdown in the garden, exactly when we play each at the palace? Stop stealing our music!

  24. Jess

    Well clearly Max didnt “give it to me” like I thought he would. LOL. I just really hope they can win game two and I really have a good feeling they will. Im gonna try to do something different tomorrow and hopefully it works! Maybe wear my 2004 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP shirt?!?!

  25. ric

    ok, heres my confession to everyone…everytime i have wine instead of beer watching the game, pistons lost…..last night was the night i was hoping for to break the curse, but it didn’t. damn it! i guess i’ll have beer tomorrow. by the way, game 4 of philly series, i had some wine in the 1st half, but stopped having it in the 2nd half, and so as the last 2 games of orlando.

  26. iloveblaha01

    You think your wine is bad, you should see what our blue hat has done. First time it was worn, they lost to the Celtics and went on a losing streak. The next time it was worn they lost… not sure how significant that loss was… and the third time it was worn was the day Chauncey got injured! That thing is going in the trash.

  27. ric

    uniform wise, the last time i wore my jersey, we lost to philly game 3….after that, never wore again. yep, and its blue too, billups.

  28. ric

    guys, after me bitching about almost each of my comment about the pick and roll issue, i finally got a glance of pistons preparation for that in keith langlois blog. for some reason, flip got me excited the way he said it with a fearful tone. i can’t wait to see pierce/garnett pick and roll break down.

    “It’s safe to assume the Pistons will alter the way they defended Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on the pick-and-roll play – Saunders said Garnett set screens a whopping 53 times in Game 1.
    “Well,” he said when asked about that likelihood, “you’ll find out.”

    here is the whole link:

  29. amer-ican prince

    ric in regard to earlier, I don’t think I made any reference to me jumping ship. Rereading my post maybe it came off a little harsher than intented, but I didn’t say anything like I’m no longer going to cheer for them. Or I’m done with this team. I’ll always root for the Pistons.

    I was simply saying what I notice in terms of patterns I see that are similar to previous games and previous seasons. And as a devoted fan, it can be a little frustrating when you see something from a team you care about, and there is no way to have any control or influence over the situation, especially when you can’t go to games and cheer in person.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that you’re trying to keep people positive after bad games. It’s a good quality, unfortunately I’m more of a blunt say what’s on my mind kinda guy. I don’t know maybe it did SOUND like I was abandoning ship, but I’m not the kind of guy that bails, especially when someone or something I care about is down. But that’s why I’m posting, because I believe the Pistons can do better
    So please don’t accuse me of being a bandwagoner until I actually say I’m done, which you’ll never hear from me.

    I always try to include positive things about the guys in my posts and I don’t care if they lose, but I do care when they don’t put up a fight for something they supposed want so bad. And this wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep raising our hopes saying they’re gonna win a championship, then deliever these kind of performances.

  30. Nate

    Has anyone noticed how much Chauncey plays for the foul now? It drives me nuts since he is such a great shooter. Good shot attempts seem few for Billups due to his own making, since he is trying to draw the foul on almost EVERY shot. Yes, it can be effective at times, but I believe he’s really limiting his game. He can drop on Rondo all night long. Stop trying to draw the fouls and start knocking them down.


  31. Whatabout87

    i thought the NBA banned those leggings that Sheed and Billups were wearing? (Seems for good reason too)

  32. ric

    prince, offcourse ur not abandoning ship, u sound like u r because of frustration….and so as a lot of people, including myself, so don’t take it personally and i apologize for any harm done. i totally understand how ur feeling, i was probably worst that you were.

    nate, when chauncey usually plays like that, hes having an off night…there were couple of games in philly series that he did that, and the other, he could careless drawing a foul, instead he was just taking it to the paint, to make plays or finish it. the outcome of those 2 games were loss/win

  33. The Fluidics

    Chauncey looked somewhat uncomfortable, but who can blame him, he hasn’t played since game 3.
    I honestly thought he should maybe come off of the bench in game one, start game two once he’s back in game form. That kind of decision could go either way, he’s clearly not a bench player, but he clearly wasn’t entirely ready to go. That kind of layoff is really the kind of thing you have to test by trial by fire.


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