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While Republicans were busy winning House and Senate seats in 49 other states (the Democrats swept Massachusetts in the House again), the Celtics were busy heading up to Motown to duke it out with the winless Pistons. These aren’t your father’s Pistons, or even the Pistons of 2008. These Pistons are a real sorry bunch, and it brings into question how good of a talent evaluator Joe Dumars really is.
After he traded Chauncey Billups to get an aging Allen Iverson, Dumars let the Answer go via free agency and used that money to sign big deals with…get this…Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Wait, what?!? The former UConn stars actually played pretty well on Tuesday night, but not nearly well enough in the Celtics’ 109-86 win. Gordon scored 14 points before fouling out and Villanueva added 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
By comparison, the Celtics, led by Rajon Rondo, played a fundamentally sound basketball game. Rondo scored nine points and added 17 assits, four more than the Pistons had (13) as a team. Rondo also finished with four steals and did not turn the ball over once in a remarkably efficient game.
“He’s unbelievable. He played the perfect floor game tonight,” Paul Pierce said. “He had 17 assists and no turnovers. You can’t get any better than that.”
Kevin Garnett led the C’s in scoring, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Paul Pierce added 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and needs just 23 more points to reach 20,000 career points, or just 18,387 away from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
As a group, the Celtics were also solid at the free throw line, finishing a perfect 18-18.
With Shaq out, Jermaine O’Neal started and scored 12 points and grabbed two rebounds. Glen “Big Baby” Davis played extended minutes off the bench, adding 10 points and five rebounds, and rookie Semih Erden made his NBA debut, as he scored two points, grabbed three rebounds, and blocked two shots.
The Celtics next take on the Bucks on Wednesday night.