Ray Allen hit a shot with Boston up one right after Rodney Stuckey had nailed a three to bring the Pistons nearly all the way back from a 17-point deficit. Detroit could never complete the comeback and Boston now heads to Detroit with a chance to close out the Pistons. Allen finally found his shot, scoring 25 points including 5-6 from three-point range.
Boston used the third quarter to build a 13 point lead going into the final quarter, and looked several times as if they were going to blow the game open. However, they never could and the Pistons mounted a furious fourth quarter rally capped by Stuckey's three with 1:23 left. 22 seconds later on Boston's next possession, Allen capped his night and may have saved Boston's season.
The fourth quarter events overshadowed a career night from Kendrick Perkins, who had playoff highs of 18 points and 16 rebounds. He scored on a variety of post moves and was highly active all night on the glass. Boston out-rebounded Detroit by 17, and had 11 offensive rebounds.
Boston dominated most of the game for three quarters, getting timely contributions from Allen, Garnett, and Perkins. The beginning of the third quarter looked like a clinic, with the Celtics running their offense to perfection and hitting open jumpers from all over the court while defensively tormenting the Pistons to
build a 17 point lead.
The Pistons though, did not give up as they sometimes do and nearly pulled off a comeback eerily reminiscent of their Game Four performance against Orlando. Flip Saunders went small and played a three guard line-up in the fourth quarter which was highly effective, but the comeback bid fell just short. Boston wisely fouled to prevent the Pistons from tying with a three late in the game.
Now the question will be whether the fourth quarter was a result of Boston losing focus with a big lead or whether the Pistons can parlay their momentum into Game Six.
For Boston to close out Detroit, Perkins and Allen must continue to contribute and Pierce must wake up offensively.
For Detroit, they have to get Antonio Mcdyess back into the game plan and play hard for an entire game.
The status of Richard Hamilton, who appeared to injure his elbow late in the game, will be of utmost importance because he has been the Pistons most reliable offensive option this whole series.
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