Paul Pierce summed it up correctly.
Forget about the monkey, they left that in Cleveland. The Gorilla is off the Celtics’ back.
After splitting at home for the first time in the playoffs, the Celtics found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to win a game on the road.
It’d been over five weeks since the best road team in the NBA’s regular season won a game away from the fake Garden.
Some believed they’d never win a game on the road. I heard many, many Celtic fans scream “this one’s over in six” as they nearly killed themselves leaping off the bandwagon Thursday night.
A team that plays defense as well as the Celtics is built to play and win road games in the playoffs. It was unbelievable that they hadn’t yet stolen a game, but on the other hand, as they were always quick to point out, they didn’t need to.
Doc Rivers, for all the things he does that I don’t like, is pretty good at keeping his team even. You wouldn’t know by watching this Celtics team that they hadn’t won a single road game this post-season.
You wouldn’t know it by the eleven straight points they put up to start the game.
You wouldn’t know it by the eighteen point lead they grabbed at half time.
You wouldn’t know it by the twenty-four point lead they took in the third quarter.
You might have figured it out by watching them in the fourth quarter, but for all intents and purposes, the game was over by that point anyway.
You have to give props to the much maligned Celtic bench, as they finally outplayed their Detroit counterpart. Sam Cassell actually made a few shots outside of the city of Boston, which he hadn’t done yet in the playoffs.
He wasn’t good, and I’d still rather see Eddie House, but he was OK enough to not kill his team. Which is a start, I guess.
Can’t say enough about Kevin Garnett. He was a man-beast. The Pistons have nobody who can stop him.
The only negative for the Celtics was the fourth quarter, which was atrocious at best. The Pistons went into a two-three zone, which gave the Celtics fits. While it was definitely effective for a while, if they were to try playing that for an entire game the Celtics’ bigs would end up killing them.
The Celtics’ difficulties stemmed more from not seeing the zone from the Pistons yet. It’s not a tough thing to beat. You need a ball handler (Rondo), a good passing big who can score (Garnett) and smalls who can hit open jumpers (Pierce and Allen).
I’d run it again if I were Detroit, just because it worked. But I wouldn’t count on it. The two-three zone stops working about the same time you enter the NBA draft.
And if college stuff actually worked in the NBA, Rick Pitino might not have been a monumental failure.
Can’t wait for game four. It’s a must win for the Pistons. If the Celtics go back home up three-one, the series won’t make it back to Detroit.
If we go back to Boston tied at two games a piece, then it becomes a three game series and we start all over again.
The NBA playoffs…they might last six months, but they’re pretty damn entertaining when the right teams match up. The Celtics and Pistons…they’re the right teams.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here