The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who suggests that you see Iron Man immediately if you haven't already seen it. And if you have seen it, see it again. When he's not marketing major motion pictures for free, he can be found playing cards with Bigfoot at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
Celtics receive a Cleveland steamer. It may feel natural to compare Boston's performance last night to poop, but that's actually an insult to poop everywhere. The Celtics fell behind 32-13 in the first quarter and never really challenged, eventually suffering an embarrassing 108-84 defeat. That, my friends, is what I like to refer to as negotiating the release of the chocolate hostages. Or wrestling the brown corn-belly snake. Or taking the Browns to the Super Bowl. Or — and this is my personal favorite — singing with Michael Bolton. Okay. I've hit my quota of poop jokes for the month. What a relief.
LeBron had another sucktastic shooting night (5-for-16), but it didn't matter. The Celtics were sliced and diced by Delonte West (21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists), Joe Smith (17 points, 6 rebounds), Wally Szczerbiak (16 points), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (12 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) and Ben Wallace (9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocked shots). It was...it was like the Cavaliers were an actual team. Boston? Not so much.
Boston's "Big Three" played more like the "Teensy Trio." KG had 17 points and 9 rebounds, but Ray Allen was 4-for-10 and Paul Pierce shot 3-for-8 and committed a game-high 4 turnovers. Rajon Rondo (3-for-10) and Sam Cassell (0-for-6) didn't do much to help the cause, either. The bigger problem, though, was the Celtics' "best in the league" defense, which allowed the Cavs to shoot 54 percent from the field and 52 percent from way out there.
So, uh, yeah ... maybe what the Hawks did in against the Celtics in the first round was no fluke.
The Pistons don't need no stinking Chauncey! Bumping. Grinding. Dwight Howard bleeding from the mouth. It was a rough and tumble game that would have made Bill Laimbeer proud, and that's the type of game the Pistons usually win. Which they did, 90-89. Without Chauncey Billups, no less.
After the game, Rasheed Wallace (16 points, 8 rebounds) broke it down for everybody. "We just played 'D' — that's what we do. It was a physical game on both sides of the ball. That's our style; we like being physical. We just wish we could do that more often." I bet they do. And I bet Dwight Howard and his mouth don't.
Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 32 points, and Tayshaun Prince (17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) hit a running one-hander from 11 feet out with 8.9 seconds to give the Pistons a one-point lead. The Magic could have tied it, but Hedo Turkoglu (20 points, 5 turnovers) took about 8.7 seconds to begin a failed drive to the basket, and Dwight Howard (8 points, 12 rebounds) failed to convert a follow-up layin.
What the hell took Hedo so damn long? This was what he said: "I was reading the situation. I didn't want to rush and force a bad shot. Maybe I was holding it too long instead of going right away." Carlos Boozer approves this message.
So now the Magic are in a 3-1 hole and heading back to Detroit for Game 5. Their only hope is that one of the Pistons players starts talking about how good it feels to be moving on to the second round...