Pistons shut down Celtics to even series

Updated: 2008-05-28 06:58

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan: The Detroit Pistons shut down the Boston Celtics on Monday with a grinding 94-75 win to even the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2.

After a Game 3 loss, the Pistons came out re-energized with a physical defense that kept Boston's Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from finding a rhythm.

Detroit shot to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and never trailed, a reversal from the first three games of the series.

"We set the tone early, and I think we finished with that same kind of energy," said Pistons coach Flip Saunders. "Tonight we took a hold of the game, and we had them playing catch-up."

The Celtics hit just 32 percent from the field but managed to stay in the game by scoring 32 points from the free-throw line.

"Give them credit because I just thought they were so much more physical than us the entire game, in every way," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

"They bumped us up the floor. Every cut we made, there was a body. Every time we had a chance to get to the basket, they threw us down."

Veteran Pistons forward Antonio McDyess led all scorers with 21 points and 16 rebounds while Richard Hamilton added 20 points, and Jason Maxiell came off the bench with 14 points and a highlight-reel block from behind on a breakaway Garnett dunk.

Pierce and Garnett each had 16 points for the Celtics. Pierce was just 3-14 from the floor with 10 of his points coming from free throws.

Saunders credited McDyess with bringing a new intensity to his game after an embarrassing Game 3 loss when the Pistons were booed by their home crowd.

"I've never seen him with the emotion he has," Saunders said of McDyess. "It's like he's got a new personality."

McDyess said he did not want to see another opportunity slip away from a Pistons team that has been criticized for its inconsistency in the playoffs.

They were knocked out of the Eastern Conference finals by Miami in 2006 and then by Cleveland last year.

"You only have so many opportunities, and they're limited," said McDyess. "I'm at the end of my career, and I just feel like leaving everything on the floor. There won't be no excuses."

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is on Wednesday in Boston.


(China Daily 05/28/2008 page24)