This whole postseason thing is one hell of a roller-coaster, I'll tell you that much. In what might have been the most dramatic game of their playoffs thus far, the Celtics held on to beat the Pistons at home, 106-102. This now leaves the Celtics one win away from reaching their first NBA Finals since 1987, although I'd like a show of hands from those who think that win is easily waiting just around the corner. Yeah, that's what I thought. This was an odd game, one in which neither of the teams appeared capable of playing well at the same time as the other, which led to a sort of see-saw effect. The Celtics started the game off well, then the Pistons surged ahead, then the Celtics surged WAY ahead (up 17 at one point), and then, well, the Pistons put the clamps down. Despite being up 15 in the fourth, the Pistons got the lead down to one in the final gasps of this thing, and as a C's fan I feel personally lucky that we escaped this one with even a nervous smile on our faces. Losing this game would have been devastating; winning at least gives us a chance to close this thing out on Friday, although that chance feels pretty goddamn remote right now. I don't know, check with me tomorrow, maybe I'll feel a little more sanguine about the whole thing, but I doubt it's a buyers' market for Game 7 tickets right now, if you catch my drift.
The Pistons' defense was simply incredible down the stretch tonight, and while the Celtics' defense was justifiably celebrated from November through April, since the playoffs started they haven't really showed us any late-game performances like the one Detroit threw our way tonight. It was brutal, suffocating, smothering, pick your violent cliche of choice. We need to find a way to deal with it, because there's absolutely no reason to think we're not going to see much, much more of it in an elimination-game situation in Detroit on Friday. I need to stop writing about this, as it's making me edgy and irritable.
The two big stories of the night were first and foremost Kendrick Perkins, who came through with a mindblowingly huge 18 points and 16 boards and appeared to be channeling Dwight Howard through much of the first half, and Ray Allen, who veritably exploded for 29 points some huge clutch shots in the closing 90 seconds or so. It's nice to have him back... let's hope he decides to stay. Aside from these guys, Garnett contributed an extremely efficient 33 points on 11-17 shooting, and Pierce went for 16 to go with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Rondo added 13 assists but shot 3-14 and you know what, I really don't want to talk about him right now. There are nights when he makes me really happy and nights when he absolutely fucking terrifies me and you can probably guess what kind of night this was.
I think I'm done here. Let's close this out Friday night, for reals.