The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who was in no way, shape or form ready for a playoff explosion from McDyess. But hey, nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition, right? When he's not puzzling until his puzzler is sore, he can be found eating a burrito as big as his head at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
The Dice Man cometh...once every 10 years. Let's go over the Boston Celtics' Game 4 checklist. Shut down Chauncey Billups (10 points, 3-for-12) and Tayshaun Prince (7 points, 3-for-12)? Check. Contain Rasheed Wallace (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocked shots)? Sort of check. Limit Rip Hamilton's scoring opportunities (20 points, 8-for-10)? Well, at least he didn't get 30. That's everybody, right? Right?! Oops. Not right. Very not right.
Antonio McDyess — who apparently discovered the Fountain of Youth over the weekend — had his best playoff game since April 27, 1998, scoring 21 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, playing lockdown defense, providing energy, inspiring his teammates and turning pure evil into delicious candy. Thanks largely to his unexpected transformation back into the Dice Man of the late 90s, the Pistons ran away with a 94-75 victory over the Celtics.
Said McDyess: "You only have so many opportunities, and they're limited, especially for me. I'm at the end of my career, and I just feel like leaving everything on the floor." And that "everything" includes a giant, smoking crater that used to be the Celtics.
Still, Antonio's big game aside, the Leprechauns did not play well. They shot 31 percent. They hit only one of their nine three-point attempts. They got 10 of their shots stuffed. They had more turnovers (14) than assists (12). And their defense on the Pistons — who shot 51 percent and committed only 7 turnovers — wasn't exactly the stuff of legends.
Boston's Mid-sized Three of Kevin Garnett (16 points, 10 rebounds), Paul Pierce (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Ray Allen (11 points) also failed to deliver, missing their first seven shots and combining to hit 11-for-38 for the game. But the Celtics used
The Stern Button
for their 39 free throw attempts to stay in the game...until the fourth quarter, anyway. And that's when the Pistons shut them down.
Said Boston coach Doc Rivers: "They bumped us off our spots and were more physical and aggressive all night. Usually the winner is the team that was more aggressive."
Yup. And now the series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.