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What was Rick Pitino thinking? Why did he trade away Chauncey Billups for Kenny Anderson? Sure, Anderson was a veteran point guard and was pivotal for the C’s during the 2001 playoffs, but let’s be honest. Pitino really screwed up this one.
Billups has become one of the top point guards in the Eastern Conference as many of you already know. It just kills me everytime I see Billups playing for another team against the C’s. They really missed a special player here. It especially kills me when Billups kills the Celtics, just like last night’s game in Boston. Billups scored 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Pistons over the Celtics, 87-85 (NBA.com Box Score).
The key play of the game was the closing seconds, in which Rasheed Wallace coralled a rebound with 1.7 seconds left with the game tied at 85. Billups grabbed the inbounds pass and threw up a great pump fake that Tony Allen bit on. Billups was going up then pulled back, but it was too late as Allen had already maded significant contact. The pump fake is a big part of Billups’ game.
Anyway, Billups headed to the FT line with .1 seconds remaining. The high-percentage free throw shooter netted both foul shots, giving the Pistons an 87-85 victory. I don’t blame Tony Allen for falling for the pump fake, but if he was just a little less aggressive, the refs probably would not have called a foul and the game may have gone to overtime.
This was definitely a game of regrets. The Celtics had a higher FG% (at 49.3%) but hit less effectively than the Pistons from 3-point land and especially from the free throw line. The C’s hit only 61.9% of their free throws (13-21), while the Pistons hit 87% of their free throws (20-23). In a two-point game, it’s easy to nit pick. If the Celtics hit what should be the easiest shots more often (free throws), they definitely would’ve beat the Pistons last night. It’s that simple.
I hope the Celtics learned that to be the best, you have to beat the best. They have only 3 losses this season, but all of them are against the East’s elite teams (Pistons, Cavs, Magic). Most important, I hope Rick Pitino realizes that he set the Celtics back at least 5 years during his tenure.