The Celtics came out with the energy in game 1 and got the win. Then, inexplicably, on their own court, the Celtics came out flat and the Pistons had the energy and took one in Boston. In game 3, just as inexplicably, the Celtics came out with the energy and the Pistons came out flat and the Celtics finally got a win on the road. Once again, in game 4, the Celtics couldn't find their energy and the Pistons came out strong and took that game. Now, it is the odd game again and it's the Celtics turn to have the energy and get the win.
Why neither of these two teams can seem to play aggressively two games in a row is a mystery. Maybe it is because the energy expended in the wins take so much out of them that they have to rest up in the next game. Maybe they get complacent and they don't play hard until it is a must win for them. For whatever reason, it makes for some frustration for the fans. I know the Pistons fans are just as frustrated as the Celtics fans as I read the comments on their boards. The Celtics could have gotten game 4. They were right there, but got away from their game plan and let Detroit run away with it. But then again, it wasn't a must win game for the Celtics.
I have said it before and will say it again, the only team that has beaten the Celtics in these playoffs is the Celtics. If the Celtics play their game, tough aggressive team defense, move the ball and make the extra pass on offense and take the ball inside, they can beat any team anywhere. But, they seem to have mental lapses. In every loss, they have forgotten all their defensive rotations, they forget to move the ball and go back to one on one basketball instead of team basketball and they take quick jumpers instead of trying to go into the paint.
It has been frustrating watching these Celtics because we know what they are capable of. We know that if they play their game, they can beat any team in any building. But, they let the other teams dictate the pace and they forget how to play in those off games. We can only hope that they continue to remember how to play in these crucial games. Tonight is a crucial game. They can't depend on winning in Detroit again and they must take care of the home court tonight. This is a must win.
The Pistons have been playing the Celtics very physically and the Celtics need to return the favor. No more layups. No more easy baskets. I remember that series in 1984 when Bird called out his teammates after a sub-par performance. The next game, McHale clotheslined Rambis on his way to the hoop and the Celtics gave up nothing easy. Pierce gave his team a call to arms yesterday. They have had their rest in game 4 and now it it their turn to take over the game from the start. If they don't, this whole magical season could fall short of it's goal.