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EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Excited Pistons win at Boston

May 23, 2008|From the Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Detroit Pistons proved that a visiting team can win in Boston. Now they can reach the NBA Finals without having to do it again.

Richard Hamilton bounced back from a poor series opener with 25 points, and the Pistons beat the Celtics, 103-97, Thursday night, tying the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece and seizing the home-court advantage that has meant everything to the Celtics.

Chauncey Billups had 19 points and seven assists for the Pistons, who will play host to the Celtics in Game 3 on Saturday.

"The atmosphere's going to be crazy," Hamilton said. "We're geeked about getting back to our home court. The fans are excited, and now it's our job to take care of home court."

Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who had won 15 in a row at home and gone 9-0 in the playoffs. But the only number that matters now is 0-6 -- their playoff road record.

"We have no choice now but to get it done on the road," Pierce said.

Ray Allen broke out of a shooting slump with 25, his best performance in three months. But he was limited to about 29 minutes by foul trouble, picking up his fifth foul with 3:09 left in the third quarter after his flurry had given Boston the lead.

Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost at home for the first time since March 24. No team has reached the finals without a road victory, and there's no longer a chance for Boston to be the first.

Six players scored in double figures for the Pistons, who shot 49% against the league's top defensive team.

"I fully believe, and I've said many times, at some point we're going to have to win on the road," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "We've gotten away with it thus far. That's been taken away. And if we want what we want, we have to win on the road and that's just the way it is."

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