AUBURN HILLS, Mich, May 8 (Ticker) --
The Boston Celtics wasted
no time showing the Detroit Pistons they are more than Paul
and Antoine Walker
The Celtics used a balanced attack and a swarming defense to
defeat the Pistons, 85-77, and even their Eastern Conference
semifinal series at one game apiece.
Pierce and Walker carried the Celtics to 49 wins during the
regular season and past the Philadelphia 76ers in the first
round. In Sunday's Game One loss, they combined for just 37
The All-Stars again combined for 37 points but got some help
this time around. Eric Williams
scored 18 points, Rodney Rogers
added 13 and 10 rebounds and Kenny Anderson
had 11 points,
taking the offensive pressure off Boston's 1-2 punch.
Kenny Anderson has been able to penetrate on Detroit in both games this series.|
"We're tough to guard," said Williams, who made three
3-pointers. "We can put five guys out there who can shoot the
three, and if they try to take that away from us, we can attack
the inside. When you've got two All-Stars like Paul Pierce and
Antoine Walker, you can do a lot of different things."
"We had guys step up all year long," Rogers said. "We know
Antoine and Paul are our main guys, but that's why they made the
trade to bring me here. I have to step it up and do the little
things. We had a lot of people step up for us tonight."
The Celtics also shut down the Pistons, who scored 96 points
Sunday. Boston limited Detroit to 33 percent shooting
(27-of-82) and dominated the backboards, 53-35.
"The defense was the defense these guys have practiced since
October 2," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "We made very
little adjustments. They played some better defense tonight, no
"Rodney Rogers was an important player for them tonight,"
Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "He had 10 rebounds and you
don't think of him as a rebounder, but he's one of the reasons
they outrebounded us by 18 in the game."
Pierce scored 22 points and Walker added 15 for the third-seeded
Celtics, who never trailed and won on the road for the first
time in the postseason since April 30, 1995 at Orlando. They
had lost their first three road playoff games.
Boston did not rely on the 3-pointer as much as it has in the
postseason, making 6-of-18 from the arc. Instead, it left that
to Detroit, which matched its club playoff record of 12
3-pointers set Sunday. However, the Pistons hoisted 29 shots
from the arc as their interior game was shut down by the
"We took the shots that were presented to us. That's how we
play the game," Pistons guard Jerry Stackhouse
said. "We have a
lot of confidence in our shooting, so we're going to take the
shots they give us. If we had made 18 3-pointers tonight, no
one would be asking us about our shot selection. We took quick
threes in Game One, too, but they went in, so no one said a
"I dont think we necessarily fell in love with the three,"
Pistons forward Clifford Robinson
added. "Weve got a lot of guys
who have been hitting that shot all year, so if they are going
down, you keep taking them. Tonight they werent falling like
they did in the first game, though. Twenty-nine is quite a few,
isnt it? Thats really a lot."
Boston outscored Detroit in the paint, 42-18.
"They took away our inside game and dared us to take threes, and
we took the bait," Pistons forward Corliss Williamson
know they packed the inside, but weve got to keep working to
find a way inside. We just cant give up on it."
Stackhouse scored 25 points for the second-seeded Pistons,
who lost at home for the first time in five postseason games.
They have not won on the road and travel to Boston for Games
Three and Four on Friday and Sunday.
The game ended with Walker, who is playing in his first
postseason, jawing with Robinson, who is playing in his 13th.
"Antoine was just running his mouth like he likes to do," said
Robinson. "Hes a front-runner, so he was talking tonight.
Thats the kind of guy he has always been."
Walker refused to comment on the incident.
Before the game, Carlisle was presented with his NBA Coach of
the Year trophy by former Pistons coach Chuck Daly, who guided
the club to titles in 1989-90. It got progressively worse from
Boston scored the first eight points, including five from
Walker. A layup by Pierce pushed the lead to 22-10 with 5:25
left in the first quarter.
The Pistons closed to 28-20 after one period but did it
primarily with Stackhouse, who scored 13 points. Meanwhile,
Walker had 10 points in the opening quarter and did not score
again until the final period -- and Boston did not miss him.
The Celtics also did not miss Pierce, who took a seat in the
second quarter with his second foul. Instead of launching
3-pointers, they attacked on offense and defense and built the
lead to 50-33 on a layup by Anderson in the final minute.
"They shot the ball unbelievably well in Game One, and that
level of shooting is really hard to maintain," Williams said.
"We knew that we would be ready for them defensively tonight and
that they wouldnt be able to do that again. If you give us
two days to prepare for a game, well always be ready for
The Pistons made just 11-of-41 shots in the first half,
including a 30-foot runner by Damon Jones
at the horn. They
carried the momentum from that shot into the second half and
rallied behind Robinson, who scored nine of his 13 points in the
Robinson's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 56-54 with 4:07
remaining, but Rogers made a pair of baskets before Williams
buried a 3-pointer to help give Boston a 67-59 lead entering the
"I just thought they outworked us and outplayed us," Carlisle
said. "We had a run in the third quarter and cut it to two or
three but just couldn't sustain. Their effort was very good and
ours needs to be better."
A basket by Williamson opened the fourth quarter, but Detroit
got no closer as Pierce made two free throws and Walker drilled
A jumper and two free throws by Pierce made it 76-64 with 9:14
left. Williams hit a 3-pointer and Anderson sank a jumper for
an 81-67 advantage with 5:05 to play, and Boston led by double
digits until the final minute.
"We got great contributions from a lot of different guys,"
Walker said. "Eric played huge. Rodney, especially that first
half, helped us build a lead. Then in the fourth quarter, we
were just able to play out Paul, and just let him milk it."
swept 11 boards for Boston, which had six players
with at least six rebounds. The Celtics shot 44 percent
Jones scored 12 points and Ben Wallace
had 16 rebounds for the