Ray Allen Reunites With Jump Shot, Celtics Win

The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who says you should never let friends drink and drive. Or go home with an ugly chick. Unless he has a really great personality. When he's not giving bad advice, he can be found doing the thing at Basketbawful. Enjoy!

It's just like a Whitney Houston song. Only cool. Ray Allen has had a hard few weeks since his jump shot left him for Jason Kapono. There have been tears. There have been regrets. One night, Ray-Ray was so upset he brushed and flossed his teeth only seven times before going to bed, and his early morning finger-tapping sequence — all five, then the middle three, then finally his middle finger — was all out of whack. But now that his jump shot has returned from its little tryst, Ray's Obsessive-compulsive Disorder is back on track...and so is his game. And that sound you just heard was a collective "Hallelujah!" from his coaches and teammates.

Allen scored a playoff-high 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting — including 5-for-6 from over the rainbow — and he hit a Charles-Barkley's-ass-sized shot with a minute to go to fend of a furious Piston rally that had cut a huge Celtic lead to one. And thanks to this blissful reunion, Boston won 106-102 and is now a single game from returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since those halcyon days when shorts were so short that an overly enthusiastic dunk might expose a random testicle. Wow. Didn't know I was going there...

Kevin Garnett had 33 points (his playoff-best for this year) and Kendrick "The Beast" Perkins played like it, going off for career playoff-highs in points (18) and rebounds (16) ... which Detroit coach Flip Saunders to say: "Perkins is eating us up." (Should we change his nickname to "Pacman"? Or is that taken?)

The Celtics' honor roll continued with Rajon Rondo (7 points, 13 assists, 4 steals) and Paul Pierce (13 of his 16 points in the first half, 5 rebounds, 6 assists). And it's a damned good thing that all their starters played so well, considering they got a sum total of 3 points from their bench (including a Super Mario! from Eddie House).

Considering their defense got shelled (51 percent shooting for Boston), and they got gangbanged on the boards (42-25), the Pistons were lucky to even be in the game at the end. But after building a 17-point third-quarter lead, the Celtics pulled out the prevent defense they used in Game 3 with similar effect: Detroit went on a 21-8 fourth quarter run that cut the lead to four with just under five minutes to go. Rodney Stuckey — who hit a big three-pointer to draw the Pistons within one with 1:22 to go — accidentally hit a foul shot he meant to miss (so Detroit could get it back) with about 4 seconds left. You really should have seen the look on his face; it was classic. KG then finished things off with a couple free throws.

Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 26 points and 6 assists. Rip Hamilton, who strained his right elbow in the closing ticks, had 25 points, 6 assists, and 6 turnovers. And Rasheed Wallace added 18 points and his sixth technical fouls of the postseason (Said 'Sheed: "A lot of those foul calls, cats were flopping and falling all over the floor!").

Game 6 is Friday in Motown.