He turned in an Eric-Snow-in-his-prime game: 9 points (3-for-6), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals and a foul in 31 minutes. Moreover, he was clearly outplayed by the previously slumping Rajon Rondo (11 points, 5-for-9, 7 assists, 5 steals). I don't know whether it was the layoff, the Boston defense, or his injured hamstring -- or maybe a combination of all three? -- but Billups didn't show the kind of aggressiveness I would have expected. I thought he'd attack the basket and put a little more pressure on Rondo. Next game, maybe?Rasheed Wallace:
First off, 'Sheed had his struggles on the offensive end: 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting, including 0-for-3 from downtown. The only time it seems to be okay to have more shots than points is if you're Allen Iverson, and Rasheed is no Allen Iverson. But in all honesty, 'Sheed's offense -- in this series at least -- is far less important than his defense. Which, as it happens, was similarly pooptastic: KG lit him up for a game-high 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting while also grabbing 9 rebounds and handing out 4 dimes.
But before you start blaming rust, know ye now that Rasheed was likewise owned by The Big Ticket during the regular season. As I pointed out in the preview
I wrote for Deadspin
, KG played as well or better against the Pistons and 'Sheed's D than he did against any other team, to the tune of 24 PPG, 54 percent shooting, and 7.7 RPG. For some reason, this makes no sense to me whatsoever. I would figure that, if anybody could do it, that Rasheed would put the clamps on KG.Rip Hamilton:
I love retelling the story of how Rip once said
: "I know before I get the ball if the shot is going in or not." Why do basketball players make ridiculous statements like that? It would be like some idiot saying that this year's Lakers team is the best squad Kobe Bryant's ever been on. Oh, wait
. Anyway, either Rip was slightly overstating things or somebody removed his Nostradamus gene (and maybe his kidney!) in his sleep last night, because The Phantom of Auburn Hills missed eight of his 13 shot attempts.Theo Ratliff:
Remember when he was all talking trash to Rashard Lewis and the Magic? That was his high point of the postseason. Since then, it's all been downhill like an out-of-control yellow snowball. Last night's Herculean performance was more like The Three Stooges Meet Hercules
, or maybe Hercules In New York
: 2 fouls and zero-for-everything-else in just under four minutes. On the bright side, he had a better +/- score (+4) than any of the Detroit starters. By far.The Zoo Crew:
Ah, the Pistons bench is so deep
! Ha, ha! I vill be here all ze week. But seriously, the Zoo Crew -- Amir Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Jarvis Hayes, Jason Maxiell, and Rodney Stuckey -- played more like the Get Along Gang
last night. They combined for 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 DNP-CDs. And even that's deceiving, since 9 of the points came from Stuckey, and both assists came from Mad Maxiell. (How did Stuckey, the backup point guard, finish with zero assists?) The other dudes spent the game shining the pine and passing out Gatorade. Which, don't get me wrong, is totally important. Gotta keep those starters hydrated.Update! The Etroit defense:
I'm an idiot sometimes. I wrote about this in today's NBA Closer column
and then totally forgot about it for WotN. But, as always, Wild Yams
was here to remind me: "I honestly did not see that coming last night. Take out the huge FT advantage for the Pistons in the first half and they basically got routed. They pointed this out after the game, but the Pistons' vaunted defense surrendered 52.2% shooting to the Celtics, and the C's outscored Detroit 44-22 in the paint. If the Pistons can't D up any better than that, they're gonna lose this series for sure. I was gonna say they'd get swept if they continued to D up like that, but then I remembered what Boston's looked like on the road in these playoffs." It's all true. And somewhat mystifying. Rust can affect jump shots, but it shouldn't affect defense, which is mostly a product of effort and concentration.Flip Saunders, quote machine:
The Flipster did some verbal gymnastics while trying to explain why his team looked so out of synch last night. "It wasn't a matter of rust as we had too many mental mistakes. We weren't in the right situations on some offensive sets. We weren't in the right situations on some defensive rotations. When you do that, it messes up the whole team and the whole team looks a step slow." Now, I forget...who's supposed to get the Pistons in the right situations on offense and defense?Ray Allen:
Can we even call what Ray-Ray's going through a "slump" anymore? His jump shot is more cadaverous than Hugh Hefner. I think it's safe to announce the time of death and arrange the funeral. I wonder of Paul Bearer
is available to give the eulogy...Update!
Here's some extra observation from Stephanie G: "Surreal moment of Game 1: Ray Allen passing to Rajon Rondo for the wide open three. I'm pretty sure most people had this play reversed when it came to imagining how the playoffs would go a couple months ago. But isn't it beautiful to watch the Boston crowd cringe every time Ray Allen looks like he may be attempting an actual jump shot? And each time the release looks so smooth, so graceful...and when it doesn't even hit the rim the crowd's nervous energy is palpable and I'm just watching it on TV. I think Ray-Ray is starting to get mind fucked by his own fans. I sensed it during the Cavs series and it has to be a mental block by this point. Lean, pure shooters like this are supposed to last forever, right? Allen has to be getting the worst stage fright imaginable everytime he gets a wide open look. Poor guy."Tony Allen:
Hmm, only 25 seconds of PT? Swing your arms from side to side, come on, it's time to go...do the mario
! [/Super Mario Bros. Super Show
DNP-CD. E.T. spent seven months trying to get bought out by the Clippers for this?! He and Mighty Mouse need to form a championship piggyback
support group.Bill Belichick, dirty perv:
Wow. How many things are wrong with the following picture? The fact that Bill showed up to the Celtics game with the woman he cheated on his wife with, Sharon Shennoca? That Shennoca looks like she could be a Batman super villain named Mistress Mummy or maybe Fraulein Leatherface? That his son (?) looks like he's hopped up on Vicodin? That Jay and Silent Bob's posse are seated behind them? I mean, jeez, take your pick.
Oh, and Ms. Shenocca? I suggest you use some of your super mummy powers on Mr. Bill, because he's got eyes on a couple younger hotties. And the dancer on the right has
to be thinking something that rhymes with "flirty mold pan."Mike D'Antoni:
First of all, holy crap! The Bulls got the first pick in the NBA draft! Sure, they could have sucked the chrome off of R2D2's robo-schlong last season, but little did we know they were losing with purpose
. Boo-ya, baby! Now, Mike D'Antoni have been a part of that, could have started a whole new generation of Fun-N-Gun in Chicago, but nooooooooo. He went for the $$ and decided to take the helm of the Good Ship Knickerbocker. Good call, Mikey Boy. Good call.
And his "I just swallowed a big turd" reaction when the Knicks got the sixth pick? Pure, undistilled rad
. As Basketbawful reader Jin put it: "I signed on this morning to see the Bulls won the draft lottery with something like a 1.7% chance of doing so, and the first thing I thought to myself was: 'Oh shit, D'antoni's gotta be pissed.' My friend hit me with this incredibly awesome picture within seconds of that (see below). I dunno if you've seen it before, but it's all five flavors of awesome. I think the fact that D'antoni kind of looks like the Monopoly Man
adds to the humor or his tight lipped grimace." Yup, yup, and yup. Go directly to
Madison Square Garden, Mike. Do not
pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not
get a chance to be happy ever again.
Labels: Bill Belichick, Boston Celtics, Chauncy Billups, Detroit Pistons, Flip Saunders, Mike D'Antoni, NBA playoffs, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Worst of the Night, Zoo Crew