Rivalry Revived The best rivalry the NBA has known has been reincarnated. "When we played them in L.A. earlier in the year," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers (right with Paul Pierce), "I told the guys after the game, 'Boy, it would be great if we could see them again.' And the only way we could have seen them again would be the Finals. The Lakers won the West, they were the best team; we won the East, we were the best team; and now we get to play each other. And the history takes care of itself on the basketball court. I think the right two teams are playing each other." No doubt the league office agrees.
Stud Of The Night It appears that Ray Allen is back on his game and just in time. He was strong offensively for the second night in a row, going 6-for-12 from the field for 17 points while playing an important role as a ballhandler to keep the halfcourt offense moving. "When you're on losing teams, it's so much easier throughout the season because you let certain things fall by the wayside," said Allen. "On this team, we took losses all year so hard. We always wanted to figure out what we needed to do to get back on track."
Dud Of The Night The Pistons received 50 points from their battered backcourt of Chauncey Billups, who overcame his strained hamstring to score 29 points with 6 assists and no turnovers, and Rip Hamilton, who went for 21 points (9-of-14) after straining his right elbow at the end of the Pistons' Game 5 loss in Boston. But Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey were a combined 6-of-27 to doom the Pistons. "It just got to a point where we couldn't make a big shot," said Pistons coach Flip Saunders.
Next For Detroit Asked about his future with Pistons, Saunders said: "That's not a good question to answer right now, just thinking about the game and the loss. I'm sure that's something Joe (team president Dumars) and I will sit down and evaluate."
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