As the Celtics powered a particularly dominant 29-13 4th quarter on their way to their second road win of the entire playoffs and second of the series to close out the Detroit Pistons, that sound heard by NBA fans across the country was that of the league’s commissioner having a violently explosive orgasm at the dream of a Boston-L.A. Finals becoming a reality.
The Celtics won the game thanks to Paul Pierce, good contributions from the other two members of the Big Three, defensive work by James Posey, solid stuff from Rajon Rondo, and the complete ineffectiveness of the Detroit front court. Combine this with Flip Saunders’ insane decision to play Theo Ratliff’s Expiring Contract for serious minutes in a crucial game (yes, it’s a Simmons joke, sorry) and you have the game that somehow turned Doc Rivers into a coaching genius. Thus, Boston is celebrating while still trying to figure out how to get rid of a coach who still doesn’t know how to handle a bench or rotation even if he somehow leads this team to a Finals victory.
The players on the Pistons are already defending Saunders, saying the loss should be put on them. But a lot of it must lie with the coach here. Saunders has lost three straight conference finals as the coach in Detroit, and Joe Dumars is stuck with another Rick Carlisle situation — he has a coach who cannot get his talented team over the hump once again.
Photo: AP/Gary Malerba