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Wallace stays in game, helps lead Pistons past Celtics

BOSTON (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace had another slow start for the
Detroit Pistons. On Friday night, though, he stuck around long
enough to find his groove.

Ejected from the season opener without scoring a point, Wallace
stayed in the game against the Celtics long enough to total 18
points and nine rebounds and help the Pistons beat winless Boston
101-88.

"I never worry about shots with 'Sheed, I worry about his
energy and his mindset out there," said Detroit guard
Chauncey Billups, who had 20 points and 11 assists with no turnovers.

"I knew that he wanted to play and I knew that he was ready to
try to get this win. So when he struggled offensively, I never
worried about that. I was just happy that his energy level was
up."

Richard Hamilton scored 27 points and Antonio McDyess had 10
rebounds for the Pistons, who lost their opener to the Milwaukee
Bucks on Wednesday. Wallace was scoreless in that one before he was
kicked out midway through the third quarter for arguing with the
officials -- an early lesson on the NBA's new crackdown that has
been attributed by many to him.

"I'm still out of rhythm a little bit, but I'm not worried
about that at all," he said. "As far as getting my bearings, I'm
not where I want to be yet. But it's still early in the season and
it's not a concern for me."

Paul Pierce scored 22 points with eight rebounds,
Wally Szczerbiak scored 18 points and Al Jefferson came off the bench to
get 11 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. The Celtics scored 10
straight points at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth
to take a 75-73 lead, then gave up nine in a row to fall behind for
good.

Wallace assisted on Carlos Delfino's layup that gave the Pistons
a 77-76 lead with 9:00 left, then Hamilton made a free throw. After
Wallace made a layup, Hamilton hit two jumpers to give Detroit an
84-76 lead.

Billups had two baskets and Wallace followed with a dunk and a
pair of free throws to make it 92-80 with under three minutes left.

The Pistons finished with just six turnovers in the game -- none
in the first half.

"They're a veteran team," Pierce said. "They understand what
they're trying to do out there. That's what we're trying to
learn."

The Celtics opened on Wednesday with a loss to the New Orleans
Hornets that tainted a tribute to franchise icon Red Auerbach, who
died Saturday at the age of 89. The former coach, general manager
and president was involved in each of the Celtics' NBA-record 16
championships, but lately he has been mostly the team's traditional
touchstone.

So it was natural that the debut of the Celtics' new dance team
-- the last franchise in the NBA to add such a pep squad -- was
delayed until Game No. 2. But the arrival of the scantily clad
soft-steppers, like the homage to Auerbach at the opener, was
unable to inspire the Celtics to victory.

"Our guys are close; that's all I can say," coach Doc Rivers
said. "I like this team. They're fighting their butts off. They're
close. This is frustrating. But I like them."

Detroit led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, and
had a 73-65 lead with 50 seconds left in the period. Pierce hit a
16-footer and then tracked down an offensive rebound and fired up a
3-pointer to make it 73-70.

Game Notes
Boston F Kendrick Perkins went to the locker room after a
cut on his head opened in the third quarter. He received three
stitches and came back for the fourth quarter. ... Detroit swept
the three-game series with Boston last season and has won five
straight and 10 of 11 overall against the Celtics. ... Boston has
lost seven of its last eight games dating to last season. ...
Celtics PG Sebastian Telfair had one assist in 19 minutes.
Rajon Rondo came off the bench with six assists in 31 minutes.