I missed the vast majority of Tuesday's game while attempting to bowl, which basically made the comeback all the more impressive. I saw the end of the first half, when the Pistons were down by 10, and I caught the score at the end of the third quarter, when the Pistons were down by four. The next time I caught the score, they were up by five, and the time after that we were up by nine. And then by the time the game ended, the Pistons won by 15.
The Pistons just exploded in the second half with 67 points, with 38 coming in the final quarter! The Celtics aren't a great team by any stretch of the imagination, but against any team in this league it takes pure guts to come back from being down 13 at one point to win by 15. Yeah, I think it's safe to say the Pistons like playing for Flip:
"We just have a little bit more freedom," said Rasheed Wallace, who had 20 points and 14 rebounds. "L.B. is a more technical coach, who wants you to run your sets, but Flip says that if we see an opening, we should go ahead and attack."
Chauncey Billups started Detroit's rally, scoring 17 points in the third quarter.
"I started to feel it, so I got aggressive," Billups said. "This is absolutely due to Flip's style. Just look at what we can do when we start forcing turnovers."
I know this team just feeds off that "us against of the world" attitude. But doesn't it get hard to play with a chip on your shoulder when you're widely recognized as being perhaps the best team in the league? Apparently not, so long as the team continues to hold a grudge against Larry Brown, or at least the perception that Larry Brown was responsible for all of their success the past two years.
Having not seen the game, I speak of anyone's actual performance, but from the box score it looks clear that Rasheed came up huge. Chauncey Billups scored 25 with 10 assists, and Rip Hamilton scored 25, as well. Carlos Arroyo offered eight points and five assists off the bench, shooting 4-5 with two steals and no turnovers. He's struggled of late, but it looks like he played real tight game. That was about it for the bench, aside from this:
Darko Milicic got some rare early action, scoring two points in four first-half minutes. He struggled badly guarding Al Jefferson and was replaced by Antonio McDyess.
It was expected that Darko would see action early, but it's too bad that he couldn't take advantage defensively. But just looking at the box score, he did finish with four points and three boards (plus a foul and a turnover) in only five minutes, so at least he's making stuff happen.
Pistons 115, Celtics 100 game report [USA Today]