Paul Pierce Disappointed by Home Play
January 6, 2004
PISTONS 78, CELTICS 68;
The FleetCenter has been far from a friendly place for the Celtics this season. That trend continued last night as Detroit defeated Boston, 78-68. The Celtics had trouble scoring almost the entire night, appearing out of synch and fatigued for long stretches. Paul Pierce (27 points) left the court cursing as he walked by the bench. He had good reason to be upset since the Celtics shot 29 percent in their lowest-scoring performance of the season.
"I'm very disappointed," "I'm to the point where I'm pretty much embarrassed by the way we play at home. I told the guys before the game that we've got to play with the same focus and the same intensity as we do on the road. It doesn't make sense that we're a better road team than home team. This is where we should be our most comfortable and have our most pride.
"Other teams come into our living room and they're just smacking us around now. They're coming into our house and doing whatever they want with us. It has to mean more to us. We have to develop a sense of pride at home and we haven't done that all year."
The Celtics are certainly well-versed in comebacks, and Pierce kicked off the fourth fourth with a 3-pointer. He hit a 17-footer 21 seconds into the quarter that made it a 7-point game (65-57). Then the Boston defense stepped up and forced Detroit to commit a 24-second violation. The Celtics showed all the signs of being ready for a big rally.
With 8:53 remaining, Boston closed within 65-60 when Mark Blount scored on a putback after McCarty missed a wide-open 3-pointer. Blount when to the free throw line to complete the 3-point play. Mike James hit a 3-pointer for his first field goal of the night, making it a one-possession game. The shot even got Jim O'Brien to crack a smile (briefly). Pierce hit a 17-footer to tie the game, 65-65, with 8:04 left.
The action had Ricky Davis wildly waving a towel on the sideline to cheer on his teammates.
But Boston went through another dry spell that included a 24-second violation and left the home team trailing, 74-65, with less than 5 minutes to play. The Pistons rattled off an 11-0 run that decided the game.
If fans were looking for a solid-shooting, high-scoring affair, they came to the wrong arena. The back rim was a popular target for both teams, though only the Celtics brought boos from the crowd at the end of the half. Boston was shooting only 29 percent (12 for 42) but trailed by only 4 points (42-38).
The problems on offense were all the more frustrating since the Celtics passed and reversed the ball well enough to get good open looks. With all the misses, they had plenty of opportunities to collect offensive rebounds. The Celtics came in as the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the league, averaging 9.8 per game. But last night, they got on the glass and actually outrebounded the Pistons in the first half, 26-22, including 11 offensive rebounds. Blount, Chris Mihm, and Walter McCarty had 5 apiece.
In the second quarter, the Pistons staged a 14-4 run that pushed them ahead, 38-30. Boston committed four of its nine first-half turnovers during the run. With consecutive 3-pointers from McCarty, the Celtics responded with an 8-2 run that narrowed their deficit to 40-38.
The Celtics held the lead for much of the first quarter and finished the period ahead, 23-22, even though they were shooting poorly (30 percent).
The Pistons extended their advantage to a game-high 14 points (59-45) in the third quarter as the Celtics' shooting woes continued (29 percent).
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