Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/4

Game 1: Friday, November 4th
Game 2: Tuesday, November 15th
Game 3: Monday, January 16th

Celtics 84

(14-23, 4-15 away)

Pistons 94

(30-5, 16-2 home)

3:30 PM ET, January 16, 2006

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 22 18 25 1984
DET 15 26 32 2194

Top Performers

Bos: P. Pierce 21 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Det: R. Wallace 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

'Sheed, sizzling Pistons cruise past struggling Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace prefers to blend in with the Detroit Pistons, making passes, attempting few shots and taking little credit.

Sometimes, his teammates don't let him.

Wallace scored 18 of his 23 points in the third quarter as Detroit coasted to a 94-84 victory Monday over the Boston Celtics.

"It was just shooting, that's all it was, playing within the offense," he said, trying to deflect attention from his performance.

The 6-foot-11 power forward scored from all over the court on an array of low-post moves, mid-range jumpers and two 3-pointers, missing just 2-of-9 shots in the third quarter.

"We were trying to go to him, inside or outside," said Chauncey Billups, who had 13 points and 16 assists. "He was very aggressive and his shots were falling, so we were going to keep going to him until he tired himself out. We were going to keep riding that horse.

"He opened up the game for us," he said.

The Pistons have won 15 of 17 and are an NBA-best 30-5, the sixth-best 35-game start in league history.

"It's unbelievable," Billups said. "I knew we were going to get off to a good first half, but I didn't think we were going to be this good."

Paul Pierce scored 21 points and Delonte West had 20 for the Celtics, who have lost five of six to fall nine games under .500.

Boston's Ricky Davis was held scoreless -- 20 points below his average -- on 0-for-8 shooting. Davis scored a season-high 33 points in his last game and 31 in the previous game against Detroit.

"Rip did a great job on him, that was his assignment," Billups said. "He contested a lot of his shots."

Richard Hamilton scored 18 points, Tayshaun Prince scored 13 and reserve Carlos Delfino added a season-high 11 points for the Pistons.

Before the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the Pistons were one of the few teams in the league with the ability to turn their play around quickly after playing poorly.

Then Rivers saw the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions do it again.

Detroit went on a 19-4 run midway through the second quarter after trailing by 14. The Celtics went ahead briefly late in the third quarter before the Pistons closed the period with a 12-3 run.

"When we get leads, we still have to remember that we're playing the best team in the league and that they are going to make a run," Pierce said. "When they made their run, and that was mostly Rasheed, and the crowd got into it.

"I thought we got rattled," he said.

The Pistons started the fourth with an eight-point lead and easily maintained the cushion.

Celtics reserve Mark Blount scored 12 points and Kendrick Perkins had 10, two short of his career high.

Detroit's defense and balanced offense allowed it to overcome an awful start.

The Pistons had more turnovers (five) than field goals (four) late in the first quarter and trailed 20-10.

Boston led 22-15 after the first quarter and led 31-17 early in the second. Detroit then went on their big run, with Billups making five assists, and took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes.

The Pistons led 41-40 at halftime after Delfino scored eight points in the quarter.

"We came out kind of flat," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We brought in Carlos, and he got us back in the game, took over the game, and everybody else finished."

Wallace was dominant in the third quarter, turning a tight game into another easy victory for the Pistons.

"When he gets it going like that, I don't know what you can do," Rivers said.

Game notes

The teams with better 35-game records than the Pistons are: the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers and the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers -- all with 32-3 records -- and the 1996-97 Bulls and last year's Phoenix Suns, both with 31-4 marks. ... Rivers said he planned to cast All-Star votes for each of Detroit's starters, assuming none of them are voted starters. ... Ben Wallace made two free throws with 25.6 seconds left after missing his first six at the line. He finished with nine points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. ... Davis' previous season low was eight points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 84 94
FGM-FGA 34-76 (.447) 35-70 (.500)
3PM-3PA 2-13 (.154) 8-19 (.421)
FTM-FTA 14-21 (.667) 16-23 (.696)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-39 5-34
Assists 19 30
Turnovers 18 13
Steals 9 8
Blocks 4 9
Fast Break Points 10 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
Largest Lead 14 13

Top Performers

Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 21
Reb: 7
Ast: 7
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Rasheed Wallace Wallace
Points: 23
Reb: 9
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 1