1980's Celtics Lakers ABC NBA Finals
With the Boston Celtics win in Game 6 in Detroit, the Celtics will move on to face the champion of the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers. Old school 1980's NBA fans will be savoring this matchup, as will David Stern and the NBA office once the ratings come out for the upcoming NBA Finals :) . Enough about that matchup for now; Game 1 is Thursday Night so we have plenty of time to talk about the NBA Finals buildup in the coming days.
Game 6 in Detroit was being controlled by Boston, but the Pistons made a 2nd half run to take the lead for the first time since very early in the game. However towards the end of that second half, some calls went the Celtics way and Rasheed Wallace had to sit on the bench with 5 fouls. The tide began to turn as Detroit began missing shots, making turnovers, committing fouls, etc. Paul Pierce then helped take control in the fourth as the Celtics outscored Detroit 29-13 in the 4th quarter to win 89-81.
Kevin Garnett was held to 8 points 1 rebound even into the third quarter, but he came on in the 4th quarter as well to knock down some shots and at least produce 16 points 5 rebs 4 assists. Ray Allen strangely had an average game (he has either been dreadfully bad, or he puts up 25+ points) dropping in 17 points on 3 / 8 three point shooting.
A very disappointing loss for the Detroit Pistons as they are only 2-4 in Conference Finals despite making it to the past 6 Eastern Conference Finals. Chauncey Billups fought through his leg injury to put up 29 points 6 rebounds 6 assists with no turnovers. Rip Hamilton was hurt with the elbow and was unsure about playing, but he came out to produce 21 points himself with a sleek 9 / 14 FG's from the floor.
The Pistons were sunk though with the performance of their other star players. Rasheed Wallace is a guy they need to be a factor and he was 2 / 12 from the floor, 0 / 6 from the 3pt line, for a pathetic 4 points and 3 turnovers. Tayshaun Prince was not better, shooting 3 / 10 from the floor for 10 points. These two have been inconsistent and the Pistons have still won at times, but it requires other players like Antonio McDyess to step up with monster efforts (who also had an off game with 6 pts 6 rebs in almost 40 minutes). Even Rodney Stuckey who had been a bench bright spot, was 1 / 5 in Game 6 for 4 points.
Heading into the offseason, the Pistons are in a position similar to the San Antonio Spurs who were just eliminated themselves. Both have veteran cores that have seen better days, but they are not at the point of a full rebuilding mode just yet. These teams have been great in part to their brilliant front office's so one would expect them to be able to retool and still make some noise.
The Detroit Pistons are doing a better job than the Spurs developing talent with Jason Maxiell coming along nicely, and really should be playing more for Rasheed Wallace and definitely should be taking Theo Ratliff's minutes. Stuckey has shown that he is playoff-ready should one of the guards depart or tail off, but it is unlikely. Players such as Billups who do not rely on athleticism age well moving into the latter parts of their career. Another stud on the Pistons bench is Amir Johnson, who has tore up D leagues in the past.
Definitely a bitter defeat for the Detroit Pistons at home in Game 6. Now the Los Angeles Lakers fly to the Boston Garden to take on the Boston Celtics Thursday Night on ABC.
Will Garnett / Allen / Pierce get their rings? Or will the MVP get his 4th? As a believer in the Western Conference every year, my money is on MVP Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers in 6 games.