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The NBA Eastern Conference Finals started tonight between the Celtics and Pistons in Boston. The Celtics took control of this game from the beginning. Despite a few lead changes, Boston held Detroit in check throughout most of the game. The Celtics played better defense and controlled the boards to hold onto their Game 1 win, 88-79. Kevin Garnett was once again the hero for the Celtics in this one.
KG led all scorers with 26 points and also added nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal. Paul Pierce also had a very productive night after an excellent Game 7 against Cleveland. Pierce finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Rajon Rondo had 11 points, seven assists, and five steals while other starter, Kendrick Perkins, finished with five points and ten rebounds.
Ray Allen struggled with his jump-shot again, but was able to drive to the basket for nine points as he continues to climb out of his shooting slump. The Celtics bench (P.J. Brown, Eddie House, Leon Powe, and James Posey) also played well.
Detroit had four players in double figures for scoring. Tayshaun Prince had 16 points, Antonio Mcdyess had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Rasheed Wallace put up 11, and Richard Hamilton had 15 points. Chauncey Billups, who was playing his first game in a few weeks, struggled and made it obvious that he could not move as well as he usually does: he finished with nine points. Rookie Rodney Stuckey will probably see more playing time if Billups continues to struggle: he finished with nine points as well.
The Celtics started this series off strong just as they have so far in the playoffs. I believe the Pistons are the best-matched team the Celtics have played thus far. But, the Celtics have the edge in a few areas:
With Eddie House playing, Doc Rivers seems to be returning to more of the lineup he used all season long. This decision is a really smart move as the Celtics struggled when Sam Cassell struggled. The only difference from the regular season rotation is that P.J. Brown gets more playing time than Glen Davis, but it’s hard to argue when P.J. is playing excellent minutes off the bench right now.
If the Celtics can end their road woes, I expect them to take this series in six games.
Tags: Antonio McDyess, Celtics, Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers, Eddie House, Glen Big Baby Davis, James Posey, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, P.J. Brown, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Rodney Stuckey, Sam Cassell, Tayshaun Prince