Basketbawful has pulled out some 20-sided dice, a bag of chicken gizzards, and the Skull of Destiny to give you the inside skinny on tonight's NBA playoff game. (And there's one skinny thing that had better not be at the game...)
Gisele Bundchen. Tom Brady's supermodel pet was in attendance at Game 2, when the Celtics' perfect home playoff record came to a sticky end. Bitter New Englanders will also note that Gi was at Super Bowl XLII, where the Patriots' perfect record got blown to smithereens. (Hold on...MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...okay, I'm done.) My point is actually a message to Tom Terrific: Leave the bitch at home. Bros before hos, dude. Bros before hos. (I'm sure Tedy Bruschi is free.)
History lesson. In Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, Larry Bird famously stole a lazy inbounds pass and fed a streaking Dennis Johnson for a layup, and the Celtics beat the Pistons 108-107. In Game 5 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals, Detroit held Boston to six field goals in the final 17 minutes and ended up winning in overtime 102-96. In both cases, the team that won Game 5 won the series. I'm just sayin'.
This could be your last chance, Part I. In Game 4, Antonio McDyess partied like it was 1998, to the tune of 21 points and 16 rebounds. The dude played — CLICHE ALERT!! — like there was no tomorrow. And Doc Rivers wants his squad to learn from that. "I think the veterans really get that. I think the young ones always think there's another opportunity. The whole thing is to show them how close we are, the sense of urgency they have to have. Because the other team has it."
This could be your last chance, Part II. Flip Saunders thinks some of the Pistons should also be following in the footsteps of Old Man McDyess. "He knows that you can't take any of this for granted. Some of our guys have been in six straight conference finals, which is an amazing achievement, but for some of our guys, this is the first time. Dice knows that, at this point of his career, it could always be his last. And all our guys need to realize that. You can't just expect there to always be a next time." Yup. Just ask Dwyane Wade.
This could be your last chance, Part III. Doc doesn't have to worry about Paul Pierce. He gets it. "We don't get this opportunity too much in our careers. We have to go out and play like it's our last, because you never know when this is going to happen again. We have to find some way, somehow to get a win at home and bring that momentum back to Detroit."
The power of positive thinking. Kendrick Perkins moves like he's in one of those dreams where you run like you're underwater. You know the ones? Anyway, he may be Mr. Molasses, but he's still impressed and inspired by the confidence dripping off of The Mid-sized Three. "They never panic, especially Ray, Paul and KG. They're always poised. They never talk negative, even after the loss they stayed positive. It was like, 'Don't even worry about it. We aren't losing any more games at home.'" Speaking of those dudes...
The Mid-sized Three. Boston's menage a trois shot 11-for-38 in Game 4, and you don't need a degree in matheology to know that's bad. Kind of like eating yellow snow or crossing the streams. They need to shoot better - and by "they" I mean KG and Truth, because Ray-Ray's a lost cause - for the Celtics to win, well, any more games.
Chauncey Billups. Mr. Big Shot might have to change is name to Mr. Shoot Him And Put Him Out Of His Misery. He's been truly, truly awful. Like, worthy of a Waltonism-level awful. But don't worry. It's not the hamstring. It's his timing. Or it's all in your mind. Or something. According to Flip Saunders, anyway. "I think his leg is fine; I think he just needs to get his timing back. If you notice, he's playing better late in games, and I think some of that is just from getting into a rhythm. It isn't about how he plays, it is about how the team plays. When we lose, it is going to be his fault, and when we win, he'll get the credit. That just goes with being a point guard."
Rodney Stuckey. Here's what's depressing if you're Boston: Stuckey is playing so well it almost doesn't matter how Billups plays. Seriously. This kid is good. And confident. And he scares me. Where's my blankie?
Calling all leprechauns (and the ghost of Red Auerbach). According to Sam Cassell and other Celtics, the visitor's locker room in the Palace of Auburn Hills was hot before Game 4. Like, fry-an-egg-on-your-head hot. Shenanigans? You'd better believe it. I bet Red was rolling over in his grave, because that was his old trick. Think the visitor's locker room will be hot, or cold, or under water for Game 5? You'd better believe it.
Calling all passers. You know what's worse than a steaming hot locker room? Bad ball movement. That's what the C's had in Game 4: 12 assists compared to 14 turnovers. Ugh. Of course, that number would probably be a little higher if they had, I dunno, hit some shots.
Bold prediction. The Celtics win by some positive number.