Thursday, May 22, 2008

Instant Analysis: Why the PISTONS Won!

Notice the difference in title of this post? Exactly. What a game. For the first time this postseason the Celtics actually lost a playoff game where they played well. Believe it or not I'll take that as a positive and hope that maybe the next step is for them to win a game on the road. I hope I'm not asking too much.
In all seriousness though, Game 2 was a great one and the Celtics came out on the losing end. They showed something of a toughness in slugging it out non-stop for four quarters against a great team playing great that I have not seen from them yet this postseason. It was not a blowout, a road choke job, or even an ugly win like the rest of their games. Nope, this game was just a straight up great basketball game and because of that I really cannot get too down in the dumps. Plus I'm much more heartened from what I saw during this game than from what I've seen from any of their other losses and even some of their victories.

The way I see it, here is why the Celtics lost:

1) They never met a ball fake they did not like did they? Even though the foul discrepancy was not too great (28/32 for Detroit vs. 22/25 for Boston), it did allow Detroit to consistently get easy buckets when their offense was not clicking. Watching the C's flail all over the place after even the most rudimentary of pump and ball fakes was comical. And yeah, I'll take Rip Hamilton shooting 7/16 any day in this series but the Celtics can't let him get to the line 12 times to offset his off - for him - shooting night so he can still put in 25.

2) Ray Allen picking up that silly fifth foul halfway through the third when he was actually contributing for the first time in ages really hurt.

3) A few late game, up for grabs loose balls went to the Pistons, namely one with about 1:24 left I think which allowed them to milk the clock and essentially ice the game.

4) I'm not going to lie, it still shocks me how useful, dependable, and all around clutch PJ Brown has been. He is money on those wide open mid-range jumpers.

5) KG had a good game but I don't think I really saw him attack the basket at all save for that one play in the fourth where he did his "take off from right after the free throw line like he's going to jam it then realize he does not have that kind of hops so fire the ball awkward and hard off the glass and somehow it goes in" move. Even still, he was taking his jumpers in the flow of the offense and hitting them (24on 11/19 shooting) but I'd still like to see him on the blocks just a bit more, especially if Ray Allen is getting his shot back.

6) We can now officially say that Rajon Rondo is incredibly up and down and that which end he comes up on will also dictate which end the Celtics come out on.

7) The most heartening thing from the loss other than the all around toughness displayed by the C's in hanging in that game and clawing back against a real good team was Paul Pierce's second consecutive outstanding game. He was driving and dishing, hitting his step-back, and asserting himself in general. If he continues to play that way the Celtics will be in good shape moving forward and may even win a road game. Of course cutting down on the turnovers would be nice too but you really can't dog him too, too much for that because he has the ball in his hands so much. It's not like he's Antoine Walker dribbling the ball of his foot or running into a charge on a fastbreak.

8) 75 points for Pierce/KG/Allen on 29/51 shooting. Despite the loss, that I hope will be a great harbinger of things to come.

Now Why the Pistons Won:

1) First and foremost their backcourt absolutely destroyed the Celtics. Billups, Hamilton, and Stuckey were all outstanding while pretty much carrying the team to victory.

2) Man, those guys are tough. They whithered furious third quarter and fourth quarter runs against the league's best team record wise during the regular season on said team's home court, never bended, never broke, hit every single big shot they had to hit, and grabbed every key loose ball. I can't say enough how much they impressed me.

3) You look at the box score and see just 13 points for Rasheed. What you don't see there is that six of those thirteen came on two absolutely HUGE three pointers. One in the third to quell a run and one in the fourth to do the same. I really can't emphasize how big those shots were.

4) My old roommate Jay emailed me the other day saying that Antonio McDyess had reached "Gary Sheffield in the 2004 ALCS scary levels" whenever he queued up a jump shot. I actually missed Game 1 so I didn't really know what he was talking about. Well, now I do. He did not do much in the second half but he was huge in the first. Whenever him or Rip Hamilton shoot, I just assume it is going in.

And that is that. As I said, while I am bummed the Celtics lost, Game 2 was such an outstanding basketball game that almost all is forgiven. Now if they can just win in Detroit on Saturday....

No comments: