Rip Leads Pistons Over Celtics
Posted Nov 4 2006 12:22AM
By JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON, Nov. 3 (AP)-- Rasheed Wallace had another slow start for the Detroit Pistons. On Friday night, though, he stuck around long enough to find his groove.
Ejected from the season opener without scoring a point, Wallace stayed in the game against the Celtics long enough to total 18 points and nine rebounds and help the Pistons beat winless Boston 101-88.
``I never worry about shots with 'Sheed, I worry about his energy and his mind-set out there,'' said Detroit guard Chauncey Billups, who had 20 points and 11 assists with no turnovers.
``I knew that he wanted to play and I knew that he was ready to try to get this win. So when he struggled offensively, I never worried about that. I was just happy that his energy level was up.''
Richard Hamilton scored 27 points and Antonio McDyess had 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost their opener to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Wallace was scoreless in that one before he was kicked out midway through the third quarter for arguing with the officials - an early lesson on the NBA's new crackdown that has been attributed by many to him.
``I'm still out of rhythm a little bit, but I'm not worried about that at all,'' he said. ``As far as getting my bearings, I'm not where I want to be yet. But it's still early in the season and it's not a concern for me.''
Paul Pierce scored 22 points with eight rebounds, Wally Szczerbiak scored 18 points and Al Jefferson came off the bench to get 11 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. The Celtics scored 10 straight points at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth to take a 75-73 lead, then gave up nine in a row to fall behind for good.
Wallace assisted on Carlos Delfino's layup that gave the Pistons a 77-76 lead with 9:00 left, then Hamilton made a free throw. After Wallace made a layup, Hamilton hit two jumpers to give Detroit an 84-76 lead.
Billups had two baskets and Wallace followed with a dunk and a pair of free throws to make it 92-80 with under three minutes left.
The Pistons finished with just six turnovers in the game - none in the first half.
``They're a veteran team,'' Pierce said. ``They understand what they're trying to do out there. That's what we're trying to learn.''
The Celtics opened on Wednesday with a loss to the New Orleans Hornets that tainted a tribute to franchise icon Red Auerbach, who died Saturday at the age of 89. The former coach, general manager and president was involved in each of the Celtics' NBA-record 16 championships, but lately he has been mostly the team's traditional touchstone.
``Our guys are close; that's all I can say,'' coach Doc Rivers said. ``I like this team. They're fighting their butts off. They're close. This is frustrating. But I like them.''
Detroit led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, and had a 73-65 lead with 50 seconds left in the period. Pierce hit a 16-footer and then tracked down an offensive rebound and fired up a 3-pointer to make it 73-70.
Notes: Boston F Kendrick Perkins went to the locker room after a cut on his head opened in the third quarter. He received three stitches and came back for the fourth quarter. ... Detroit swept the three-game series with Boston last season and has won five straight and 10 of 11 overall against the Celtics. ... Boston has lost seven of its last eight games dating to last season. ... Celtics PG Sebastian Telfair had one assist in 19 minutes. Rajon Rondo came off the bench with six assists in 31 minutes.
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