AUBURN HILLS, Mich, Jan. 19 (Ticker) -- Chucky Atkins
and Kenny Anderson
exchanged the roles of hero and goat twice in a matter of seconds.
After his mistake allowed Anderson to scored the go-ahead layup, Atkins responded with a jumper with three seconds left as the Detroit Pistons rallied for a 94-91 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Boston was on cruise control for the first 36 minutes and had an 84-67 lead after Paul Pierce
opened the fourth quarter with a jumper. But Detroit responded with a 19-4 run led by Jerry Stackhouse
, who scored five of his 28 points during the spurt.
The Celtics were clinging to an 89-86 lead when Stackhouse sank a pair of free throws with 4:07 left and buried a fallaway jumper 79 seconds later to give the Pistons their first lead.
NBA.comTV highlights from Celtics-Pistons:
Chucky Atkins gets a hug from teammate Michael Curry after hitting the game-winning jumper in the Motor City.
The teams traded unsuccessful possessions tweice before Anderson missed an open layup with 21 seconds remaining. Atkins grabbed the rebound and nearly fell out of bounds before throwing the ball off Antoine Walker's
But Anderson beat Atkins to the ensuing inbounds pass and scored an easy layup to give Boston a 91-90 lead with 18 seconds to go.
"I thought I had blown the game for us," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "I should've called a timeout and advanced the ball to mid-court, but I hung Chucky out to dry. It was entirely my fault. How great is it that Chucky went down to the other end and hit the winning basket?"
Atkins answered on the next possession, receiving a pass from Clifford Robinson
at the top of the key and draining a wide-open jumper.
"We just wanted to get the ball into (Stackhouse's) hands and let him make the play," Carlisle said. "He made the right pass and so did Cliff and Chucky never hesitated."
"I felt a lot better when I hit the game-winning shot," Atkins said. "If you get good ball movement someone is going to get a wide-open shot. I'm just proud that my teammates and my coaches had the faith in me to let me take it."
Pierce lost control of the ball on a physical play on the Celtics' next possession and was ejected for arguing the call.
"He got fouled, he got tackled," Anderson said. "I don't care if you're home, away, park, playground, that's a foul. For someone to get tackled, this is not football. It was blatant."
Stackhouse, who had been fouled, sank a technical free throw and a conventional one as Detroit secured its first winning streak since December 5-13.
scored 11 of his 14 points in the second quarter and Robinson finished with 13 points for the Pistons, who have won six of their last eight meetings with the Celtics at the Palace.
scored 13 points off the bench and Ben Wallace
had 10 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks for Detroit.
Walker scored 28 points and Pierce added 23, nine rebounds and six assists for Boston, which scored just nine points in the final period and has lost two in a row since a three-game winning streak.
"I don't think our shot selection was great down the stretch," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "We didn't get the shots that got us the lead. They picked up their defense and we did not repsonded well down the stretch."
"We broke down, we gave them the game," Walker said. "We didn't do what we need to do in the fourth quarter. We had 12 minutes to close them out and we didn't do it and that cost us the game. There's nobody to blame but ourselves. We're a much more mature team than to blow a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. We've got to seal the deal."
Anderson finished with 19 points and was the only other player in double figures for the Celtics, who made 9-of-20 3-pointers but went to the line just 14 times.
Walker made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first quarter as Boston jumped out to a 33-22 lead. The Celtics had a 49-36 cushion midway through the second before the Pistons scored nine straight points and pulled witin 57-50 at halfitme.
Boston had an 69-53 cushion less than three minutes into the third period before Detroit scored 11 consecutive points led by Robinson, who made two jumpers and a layup.
The Celtics scored the final eight points of the third quarter and headed into the final period with an 82-67 lead.