In the first two rounds we always had control of the series because we were either tied or ahead and even when we were tied, we had home court advantage to fall back on. This is the first time, we aren't really in control. The series is tied but the Pistons have stolen the home court. The good thing is that the Pistons are definitely beatable at home. They are 1-4 in their last 5 game threes. They lost game 1 in Detroit to the Sixers in the first round. They also lost game 3 to them. So, they are beatable. It will be up to the Celtics to play their game and be aggressive on defense to pull it off. They are fully capable of doing it but they can't let the Pistons' defense take them out of their game offensively and they must play the tough defense that won them 66 games in the regular season. An effort like they gave in game 2 isn't going to do it.
In spite of the loss in game 2, there was reason to be optimistic. Ray Allen finally broke out of his shooting slump. I was so excited when that first jumper finally went in and then he started hitting everything. You could just see the confidence surging back into him as he hit that first shot. The Celtics will need his scoring and so hopefully he can pick up where he left off in game 2 with his shots falling.
It is amazing to read all the stories that have already written off the Celtics after their first loss at home. They are 9-1 at home and that is pretty good. The Pistonsl lost their first game at home and they weren't doubted like this. Maybe it is because the Celtics haven't proved that they can win on the road while the Pistons have. The Celtics have never HAD to win on the road though and now they do. It will tell a lot about this team to see how they handle adversity and how they will play on the road now that they must win a game in Detroit.
It is very bizarre that Chauncey Billups could barely walk and was stumbling on the court in the first game, leading everyone to believe that his hamstring was still bothering him. But he had a miraculous healing between game 1 and game 2 as he showed absolutely no sign of any problems with his hamstring and ran just fine in game 2. I think he was playing possum to give the Celtics a false sense of security. It worked, too.
The Celtics bench cost them game 2. Pierce, KG and Ray played as well as they could. Perk and Rondo had decent games. But the bench had only 8 points. House and Big Baby did virtually nothing. Powe and Posey did little more. Tony Allen looked totally lost. PJ Brown was the only sub who played reasonably well and he had 4 of the 8 bench points. The Bench players must come to play and given the team more effort than they did in game 2. The Big Three can't do it by themselves.
I was watching some highlights from the 1987 Celtics-Pistons series this morning and of course there is "the steal by Bird, underneath to DJ" play but another really stood out. I remember seeing them do this a couple of times and it always amazed me. Bird was under the basket surrounded by Pistons. DJ had the ball at the top of the key. DJ then passed the ball off the backboard right into Larry's hands for a layup. I had forgotten about that play and that brought back some very good memories. What amazing chemistry between those two players.
When I think back to the Celtics losses on the road in the first two series, most of them were lost by the Celtics and not won by the opponent. The Celtics didn't play their game in any of them. In fact, in the loss in game 2 in this series, the Celtics lost it rather than the Pistons winning it. The Celtics lost their focus and didn't play defense. This series is in the Celtics hands and is going go come down to their focus and intensity. If they play their game with the defense that got them here and stay focused and not let the Pistons defense take them out of their game on offense, the Celtics will win this. The Celtics need to keep their focus and intensity on both ends of the court and they will get a win in Detroit, regardless of what the Pistons do.