Pistons hold off Celtics, even seriesMay 27, 2008 - 4:51 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Antonio McDyess is the only starter for the Detroit Pistons without an NBA championship ring. In Game Four against the Boston Celtics on Monday night, the veteran forward played like a man determined to fill that void in his career.
McDyess, who joined the team as a free agent the summer after it won the 2004 NBA title, had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Pistons to a 94-75 victory over the Celtics to square the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.
"I'm almost to the end of the road," McDyess said. "I feel like leaving everything on the floor, so there's no excuses. I'm tired of hearing excuses why we haven't won the last few years. I can accept losing, but only if you leave everything on the court. Anything less isn't acceptable."
McDyess also spent much of the game guarding Kevin Garnett, who scored 16 points after averaging 24.0 in the first three games of the series. Paul Pierce also netted 16 points for the Celtics.
"I'm so proud of him, just how he's been with his leadership," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "After the film session (Sunday), 'Dyess said, 'We've been talking that everything is all right. We've got to make it happen. We can't talk about it."
Detroit, which had fallen behind early in each of the first three games, jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never trailed in the contest. McDyess sparked the early surge with eight of Detroit's first 10 points.
"We couldn't start like we did last game," McDyess said. "I felt that if I started knocking down shots the team would feed off of it. I thought I did a good job of doing that."
McDyess wasn't surprised that he was left open so much.
"They always leave me for some reason," he said. "They're a big help team on the strong side and the weak side is always open. They've been doing that since day one. Flip emphasized that (in the) last practice, 'Dyess is going to be open at the top of the key,' and the players have been getting me the ball."
In the first three games of the series, Boston raced out to leads of 8-0, 10-4 and 11-0, respectively. But the game came down to execution in the waning minutes.
Boston was within five points early in the fourth quarter, but Jason Maxiell scored six points during a 1 1/2-minute span early in the period. He also played some tough defense against Garnett and grabbed a rebound that led to a fast-break layup by Richard Hamilton with 6:21 left in the game to put Detroit ahead 76-67.
Boston's Ray Allen said that the slow start was instrumental in the Pistons squaring the series.
"Early in the game we start off offensively on a bad note where we didn't move the ball," Allen said. "Going into the second quarter, we had one assist. Anytime that happens, we aren't going to do ourselves any favors in trying to score."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave Detroit credit for being the aggressor in the game.
"They bumped us off spots, were more physical and more aggressive all night," Rivers said. "Usually, the win goes to the team that's more aggressive, and it was them. It shouldn't have happened but it did."
Saunders emphasized that the Pistons couldn't afford another dismal start.
"We have to set the tone early," he said. "If you set the tone early, that's how you finish in a lot of games. We set the tone early, and I think we finished with the same type of energy."
Chauncey Billups, who had another sub-par game while still recovering from a hamstring injury, made only 3-of-12 shots from the field. But he hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 remaining to stretch the Pistons' lead to 83-73.
Pierce scored five points in a 7-2 first-quarter surge by the Celtics, who cut the Pistons' lead to 22-17 entering the second quarter.
Free throws kept the Celtics - who made just 3-of-15 shots from the line - in the game. Boston outscored Detroit, 17-5, from the free-throw line in the first half and finished with a 32-16 advantage.
The Pistons had another fast start to the second quarter, outscoring the Celtics, 11-2, with Maxiell coming off the bench to score six points in the run which gave Detroit its largest lead of the game at 33-19.
"Our opponents' mindset is to focus on Chauncey, Rip and Tay (Tayshaun Prince), so if the shot is there, I knock it down. If it isn't, I go to the boards," Maxiell said.
But once again, the Celtics finished the quarter with a spurt, outscoring the Pistons, 12-6, to slice the margin to 43-39 at halftime.
McDyess played a major role in his team maintaining its lead throughout the third quarter, as he collected eight points and seven rebounds for Detroit, which finished the quarter leading, 65-58.
The Pistons finished the game on a 16-2 run which was led by Hamilton, who scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit.
DETROIT 94 FINAL
May 26 11:29 PM
DETROIT 65 END, 3RD QTR
May 26 10:46 PM
DETROIT 43 HALFTIME
May 26 9:51 PM
DETROIT 22 END, 1ST QTR
May 26 9:13 PM
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