Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Wednesday, November 5th
Game 2: Monday, January 5th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 28th

Celtics 88

(2-2, 1-2 away)

Pistons 96

(3-1, 1-1 home)

    7:30 PM ET, November 5, 2003

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 30 24 16 1888
    DET 23 22 28 2396

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Det: C. Billups 27 Pts, 2 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl

    Second-half runs propel Detroit

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons love to let it fly from long range.

    Chauncey Billups scored 27 points and the Pistons shot 8-of-18 on 3-pointers in a 96-88 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

    It was the 15th anniversary of Detroit's first game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, when the Pistons beat Charlotte 94-85 without attempting a single 3-pointer.

    "No 3-pointers? There's no way that would happen today -- not with the guys on this team," said Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, who made all four of his 3-point attempts. "When we see daylight, we're letting it go."

    Billups scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers, and finished as one of five Pistons in double figures.

    "I know that Coach (Larry) Brown isn't big on us shooting 3s all the time, but that's a big part of this team," Billups said. "We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball and a lot of ways to get the open shots."

    Richard Hamilton shot just 7-of-23 from the floor, but finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, one short of his career high. Prince added 14, while Ben Wallace had 13 rebounds.

    "I've been on Rip about rebounding, and he did some great things out there tonight," Brown said. "A lot of nights, a guy that goes 7-for-23 doesn't really contribute, but Rip gave us defense and gave us rebounding and was a key to the victory."

    Paul Pierce paced Boston with 20 points and 10 assists, while Vin Baker added 20 points.

    "It was a tough loss tonight," Pierce said. "We really played well, and we knew what we needed to do to win the game, but we just didn't get it done. There's a lot of positives in this team -- we just have to clean up a few things."

    Detroit trailed by nine at the half but got back into the game with a seven-point run early in the third, capped by Prince's 3-pointer.

    Raef LaFrentz slowed the rally by scoring the next four points, but the Pistons responded with a 13-2 run that included nine points from Billups and Hamilton and led 73-70 at the end of the quarter.

    Four straight Pistons turnovers allowed Boston to take a 76-73 lead, but Detroit came back again. This time, Billups hit a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 10-2 run that made it 83-78 with 7:11 left.

    Boston's final attempt at a rally was thwarted by 3-pointers from Prince and Billups that made it 96-88 in the final minute.

    Boston led 54-45 at halftime behind 12 points each from Baker and Pierce. The Celtics shot 57.5 percent and outrebounded Detroit 21-16. In the second half, Boston hit just 35.3 percent of its shots and trailed 29-19 on the boards.

    "They just mauled us on the glass -- it was a total breakdown on our part on the rebounding aspect of the game," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "We just got beaten to the ball tonight and outhustled and that's why we lost the basketball game."

    Game notes

    The Pistons got 18 points from Adrian Dantley and double-doubles from Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer in the first game at the Palace and went on to win the NBA title. ... Detroit's Zeljko Rebraca (flu) and Boston's Eric Williams (ankle) did not suit up. ... Detroit missed nine of 23 free throws in the first half. ... Pierce and Wallace got technicals in the fourth quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 96
    FGM-FGA 35-74 (.473) 33-80 (.413)
    3PM-3PA 2-13 (.154) 8-18 (.444)
    FTM-FTA 16-17 (.941) 22-32 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-40 21-45
    Assists 23 19
    Turnovers 21 18
    Steals 13 12
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 3 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (2/0) 19 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 27
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0