As much as folks complain about the Pistons waiting until their backs are against the wall before playing full throttle, it is easy to lay the same criticism on the Celtics.
This past weekend, both teams wriggled off the imminent elimination hook with allowing everyone to stop, take a deep breath and prepare for a monster, best twp out of three series for the Eastern Conference title.
On Saturday, desperate for their first playoff road win, the Celtics went into the D and flashed some championship-caliber mettle, following Kevin Garnett's lead to jump on the Pistons early and pound out an impressive road W.
On Monday, the Pistons took their turn as the back-to-the-wall-desperate-for-a-win team. Could this be it? Chauncey Billups is not healthy and playing at some unknown percentage of himself that is well below 100%. They needed someone to step up and make a difference.
Enter Antonio McDyess and Jason Maxiell. McDyess nullified Gartett on his own, finishing with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Maxiell's precious 14 points off the bench provided the support to get the Pistons to close out time in the fourth quarter. From there, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Billups did what they do when they smell a W and sealed the deal for the Pistons.
So now it is back to Boston and one can only hope the teams split the next two games so this thing goes to a Game 7 where both teams will have their backs against the wall and only one can emerge as the Eastern Conference champ.