"The guys did an excellent job," Hamilton said. "Tay
(Tayshaun Prince) made a great pass and Ben (Wallace) and Ray
(Rasheed Wallace) set great screens."
Prince, who the Celtics elected not to guard on the inbounds
pass, found Hamilton just inside the 3-point arc and he got the
shot off as time expired.
"We had a few options. With 0.8 seconds (remaining), you've got
to get something really quick," said Pistons guard Chauncey
Billups, who had 16 points and eight assists. "There's no better
guy in the league to get that shot than Rip Hamilton. That's his
bread and butter."
Hamilton led the Pistons with 26 points, while Rasheed Wallace
added 15. Ben Wallace had 15 rebounds.
"(We) just wanted to play everyone tight," Celtics forward
Paul Pierce, who led all scorers with 28 points, said of the final
play. "That's what prime-time players do in this league.
Obviously, Rip is a prime-time player."
The Celtics (1-1), who have lost seven of their last eight
against the Pistons, dating to the start of the 2003-04 season,
looked like winners after Mark Blount hit a jumper from the free
throw line with 0.8 seconds remaining to put the Celtics up 81-80.
"He made a big shot," Hamilton said. "They thought they won,
but you can't celebrate until the final horn goes off."
After the Pistons (2-0) took an 80-79 lead on Rasheed Wallace's
putback with 16 seconds remaining, the Celtics pushed the ball up
the floor and got it to Blount. He missed a shot in the paint but
tipped the ball out to Delonte West, who got it back to Blount for
"I told them we played with them and that's great," Celtics
coach Doc Rivers said. "But at the end of the day, we didn't win
the game. And I told them the moral victory stuff, that's for teams
who think they are losers."
The Pistons opened the third quarter with a 13-5 run and took a
51-48 lead on a dunk by Hamilton. LaFrentz answered with
consecutive 3-pointers, one as the shot clock expired, to give the
Celtics a 54-51 lead.
With Boston trailing 69-68 in the fourth, Pierce scored six
straight points for a 74-69 lead.
The Celtics used a 27-18 run in the second quarter to take a
43-38 halftime lead.
After nearly doubling their opponents in blocked shots in
the preseason, the Pistons blocked one shot in the first half -- one
less than West, the Celtics' point guard. ... The fourth-best
rebounding team in the NBA last season, the Pistons were beaten
28-22 on the boards in the first half. ... Pierce and Davis
combined to average 51 points at home last season against the
Pistons. ... The Celtics play 11 of their first 15 games at home.