Celtics Beat Pistons to Advance to NBA Finals

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Boston got past an old nemesis to set
up a matchup with another rival.
Paul Pierce scored 27 points, Ray Allen had 17 and Kevin Garnett
added 16 to lift the Celtics to an 89-81 victory over the Detroit
Pistons on Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston, which locked up with Detroit many times in the 1980s,
will now rekindle another classic series in the NBA finals against
the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Pistons were eliminated on their home court for the first
time during a six-year run that included a trip to the conference
finals each year and the 2004 title.
Boston entered the series without a road win in the postseason,
then beat Detroit on its home court twice to win the grueling
After playing two Game 7s, the Celtics will get a needed break
before hosting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Thursday night.
Chauncey Billups scored a playoff-high 29 points and Richard
Hamilton had 21, but the rest of their teammates had lackluster
efforts - especially Rasheed Wallace.
Wallace scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting and had
three turnovers in what might've been his last game as a Piston and
could've been Flip Saunders last as Detroit's coach.
After it was 58-all, Detroit closed the third quarter with a
10-2 run and took its first lead since midway through the opening
Just when it seemed the Pistons might be in control with a 70-60
lead early in the fourth, the Celtics scored nine points in less
than 2 minutes and went on a 19-4 run that put them ahead 79-74.
Billups' three-point play pulled Detroit to 83-79 with 2:24
left, then the Pistons wasted a chance to get closer.
Tayshaun Prince grabbed a loose ball after a Boston miss and
turned the ball over when James Posey surprised him from behind and
snatched it away.
Pierce made two free throws on the possession, putting the
Celtics up by six with 1½ minutes to go.
The Pistons failed on their 3-pointers down the stretch and
couldn't take advantage of Garnett missing two free throws with 36
seconds left.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)