Why the Celtics won: The role players. Rajon Rondo, James Posey and Kendrick Perkins came up with crucial buckets, steals, rebounds and whatever else the C’s needed during its big run to take the lead in the fourth quarter and as they maintained the lead in crunch-time. Paul Pierce was the night’s big scorer, but the complimentary guys did their jobs when it mattered most.
Why the Pistons lost: The front line. Rasheed Wallace (2-for-12 FG’s), Tayshaun Prince (3-for-10) and Antonio McDyess (6 pts) were largely ineffective, offsetting the efforts of Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. Detroit’s best big man was Jason Maxiell, and he only played 16 minutes.
Key numbers: Paul Pierce (27 pts, 8 rebs); Chauncey Billups (29 pts).