There's no fear factor

Wallace puts his pedal to mettle

R. WALLACE Big 3-pointers R. WALLACE Big 3-pointers
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Rob Parker
The Detroit News / May 23, 2008

After the Pistons lost Game 1, an aggravated Rasheed Wallace talked to the media in the locker room.

Wallace didn't say much, but he did say the Pistons weren't afraid of the Celtics.

They proved it last night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Pistons' 103-97 victory did more than just even this best-of-seven series. It also broke the magical spell the Celtics had at home. The Celtics entered 9-0 at home in the postseason and had not lost in Boston since March 24.

It was only fitting the Pistons hung the first "L" here in the playoffs. The Pistons delivered the Celtics their first home loss in the regular season after 12 straight wins.

"They're a good ball club," said Wallace, who had 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including two 3-pointers. "I think a lot of teams that played them in the postseason and regular season were scared of them."

The Pistons, who recorded their fourth playoff victory on the road, accomplished the mission they set out to do when they arrived here - to steal one game. It sets them up nicely with the next two games at The Palace. Let's not forget, the Celtics, for all their victories at home, haven't won a road game in the playoffs, going 0-6.

Wallace, who was quiet in the first half last night with just 2 points, came through in the second half, hitting two 3-pointers. His turnaround jumper gave the Pistons an 82-71 lead with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter. "I'm glad I did that [knocked down some big shots]," said Wallace, who was called for a technical foul in the first quarter. "I wasn't feeling it."

Tayshaun Prince nailed a big shot to give the Pistons a 4-point lead, then it was Wallace again. His baseline jumper gave the Pistons a 96-90 lead with 2:20 to go.

" 'Sheed was huge," Chauncey Billups said. "He didn't miss a lot of defensive coverages. He was locked in mentally.

"You know he's always going to be there to hit big shots when he has opportunities."

Wallace's words after Game 1 were reminiscent of his guarantee in the 2004 championship season. After the Pistons lost Game 1 to the Pacers in Indiana, Wallace promised a win in Game 2. And he delivered.

This victory could do the same, especially the way the Celtics have played away from the Garden. And the Pistons can win at The Palace.

It'll be interesting to see how the Celtics react to getting beat at home. They couldn't win a road game in Atlanta or Cleveland. Some believed the Celtics could get to the Finals without winning a road game.

"It's a big win," said Rip Hamilton, who scored a team-high 25 points. "But we don't settle for less.

"We don't look at it as they're undefeated at home, we looked at it as an opportunity to get a win. I thought guys knocked them down [big shots]. We played with a lot of intensity and got a win."

The Pistons, who might have been rusty in Game 1 with a week layoff, got contributions from many players. Early, it was Hamilton and Billups. They were aggressive from the word go and the Pistons were off and running. Hamilton and Billups combined for 26 of the Pistons' 50 points in the first half.

Lindsey Hunter played well off the bench and so did rookie Rodney Stuckey, who had 6 of his 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

But in the end, Wallace was as big as any of them. He wasn't afraid and neither were the Pistons.

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