It's the perfect plan because anyone who has watched this series — and the Celtics in the playoffs — know it's going seven games.
The Celtics were exhausted after Wednesday's Game 5 victory. Coach Doc Rivers, recognizing the season likely rested on a victory, ran his starters hard and until the end. The five starters on the league's oldest team averaged almost 42 minutes, and was a brutal 42 minutes, in a swing Game 5, in the third round of playoffs. And that after consecutive seven-game series.
Yes, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead. But one could see how gassed they were. Exhaustion caused turnovers, which allowed the Pistons to almost steal the game. They cut a 17-point deficit to one before a big-time Ray Allen jumper gave Boston some oxygen masks.
This was when milk carton jokes were being prepared for Allen, who seemed ready to ask Ben Wallace for shooting advice. Part of Allen's shooting woes was the curious Celtics' offense, which never seems committed to any particular plan. Allen is a player who thrives off ball movement and screens. But in these playoffs, the Celtics have degenerated into a half-court playground team with considerable isolations around some basic screen plays that have been predictably easy for the Pistons to counter.
Someone tell the Pistons to box out.
It is amazing to see even veteran teams like the Pistons fail to perform the most basic fundamentals. It's yet another reason why whomever emerges from this Eastern Conference series is going to lose in the NBA Finals.
It's not even a matter of talent, but a matter of the Lakers and Spurs being better coached, more fundamentally sound and cohesive gameplans on the offensive and defensive ends.
You know the Pistons will come out more aggressively at home. But it must be difficult for coach Flip Saunders. It's as if because most of the starters think they know better and ignore Saunders because they won a title before he arrived. So Rasheed Wallace stands around and lets Perkins slip by him for five of Boston's 11 offensive rebounds. Kendrick Perkins? In Game 5 of the conference finals? C'mon.
This was the highest scoring game of the series and closely contested, but it was hardly a well played game. Fatigue seemed to be getting the best of both teams. The teams shot well, but it seemed more that Boston's defense, which attacks and aggressively switches everything, failed to finish out possessions.
And this is no time to play hero. Perhaps give it one early run Friday and shut it down for Game 7. Or maybe just leave the starters at home.
After all, imagine the humiliation if the Pistons can't beat that team of reserves. And if they do, they should and they still face a Game 7 in Boston. Edge: Celtics. But those starters better be ready for 40 more minutes.
Y! Sports: For Roy Hibbert, a sense of ownership means knowing he should have fought to get in the game with two seconds remaining in overtime, when his absence allowed LeBron James to hit the winning lay-up.
PBT: After it looked like Paul George's heroics would sink the Heat in Game 1, LeBron James stunned Indiana with a layup as time expired to lift Miami in OT.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
LeBron: 'I just made a layup'
LeBron James hit the game-winning shot as time expired in overtime to beat the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, but he says, "I just made a layup."
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