Posey and Pierce Celebrate Win
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Paul Pierce showed respect to the Pistons when he spoke after the Celtics' 92-85 victory last night. But according to reports, he was caught up in the hoopla and proclaiming his squad the best team in the league as he left the Palace floor.
That would make Pierce at least numerically correct, in that the Celts are a league-best 29-3 while Detroit is second in the East at 26-8. But the Pistons took a little shot back.
``They were a little more happy than I know we were when we beat them out there (in Boston),'' Chauncey Billups said. ``When we won, it was just another game for us. They kind of played it like it was the Super Bowl. It's just a regular game, man, with two good teams playing. This probably means a little more to them and their psyche than it was for us. But they won, man, they won.''
In the calm of the dressing room, Pierce passed out the props. After saying he felt the Celts ``let one get away'' when they lost at the end to the Pistons on Dec. 19, he added, ``You can't take anything away from Detroit. They're a great team. They're a champion. We're still learning from them what it's like to be in these type of games. Today was a big step.''
The game was indeed more important to the Celts than Detroit.
``It is a big win because you come here and you return the favor,'' said coach Doc Rivers. ``They beat us on our floor and we beat them on theirs, and unfortunately we only play three times this year (next at the Garden on March 5). Our guys need this. This is good for our team. (The Pistons) are used to it. We don't know if we are or not because we're so new to each other. But I thought we handled it great.''
Pistons officials were describing the game as the toughest regular-season ticket since 1991, when Michael Jordan and the Bulls came in.
The Celtics' trip here didn't go as planned. The team went to Hanscom Field late Friday night but couldn't take off because of a mechanical problem with the plane. The C's left at 9:30 yesterday morning instead.
``It wasn't a problem,'' said Ray Allen. ``We still got sleep. That was the good thing. We got an extra night of regular rest. If we had taken off (Friday) night, we would have gotten in at 1:30-2 in the morning and then got into bed possibly by 3. So we at least got a good night's rest. I woke up not really tired.''
The team checked into its hotel around noon and was out the door a few hours later.
``We're the kind of guests that the hotels like,'' said Allen. ``We don't really turn the sheets over that much. The maids loved us. They didn't have to do much cleaning. And the hotel still got their money. Everybody was happy.''
He's no Fred Garvin
Scot Pollard clearly wasn't fazed by the alleged enormity of the game. Prior to tipoff he was sitting in the dressing room wearing a knit cap that read ``Male Escort.''
``My wife got me this,'' Pollard said. ``She has a sick sense of humor.'' . . .
With the Celts and Pistons playing last night, you'd have thought the game would be the main topic in these parts. But on the drive from the airport here, the discussion on Detroit's sports radio station was where the Patriots rank among the best teams of all time. No kidding.
Eyes shouldn't leak
Rajon Rondo was looking at possibly a stitch or two above his left eye after an early collision.
``I don't even remember when it happened,'' he said. ``It was a play in the first quarter. I'd been through some traffic and Chauncey had posted me up, and the next thing I knew it was leaking. I could feel it, but I didn't know what play it was.'' . . .
James Posey was getting into it with the crowd as the game wound down. The folks who had been on the Celts got a smiling Posey woofing back.
``It was just one of those moments taking advantage of the opportunity - a couple of hecklers,'' Posey said. ``But it was all in the fun of the game. There's tough love everywhere I go.''