One down, three to go. The Celtics dynamic duo of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett dominated this 88-79 victory in Game 1. Pierce played a fantastic all-around game – 44 mins, 22 pts, 6 reb, 6 assists. He played the point-forward to perfection; bringing the ball up the court, working the pick-and-roll, finding his shot or the open man. KG was an offensive force – 26 pts, 11-17 FG, 9 reb, 4 assists. He knocked down jumpers and worked the post. It was their best offensive game (52%, 27 assists) of the playoffs. And the defense wasn't too shabby either. Detroit's Big 3 of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace combined for 35 pts on 11-31 shooting. Here are some other observations:
-Rajon Rondo (11 pts, 7 assists, 5 stls, 1 TO) was a pest. He was very active on both ends. And he nailed two big shots; an open jumper and 3-pointer in the final three minutes to seal the victory.
-Billups played 31 minutes, the lowest number of minutes among Pistons starters. While he didn't appear gimpy because of the hamstring, he clearly isn't 100%.
-The first quarter was a roller-coaster. The Celtics started strong, jumping out 8-0. But the Pistons quickly followed with their own 8-0. The C's had another 8-0 run late in the first and finished up 5, 22-17.
-The Celtics pulled away in the 3rd quarter (28-17). They pressured Detroit into 7 TOs in the quarter and attacked the basket (11-13 free throws).
-Rip Hamilton threw a forearm at Kevin Garnett's head as KG was setting a screen. The refs called a foul as Rip's elbow glazed KG's head. It was an obvious cheapshot from a frustrated man.
-Ray Allen (9 pts, 3-10 FG) struggled again. He was able to get his points on the break and by going to the basket. He wasn't a huge detriment tonight (I know, the bar has been set extremely low).