Detroit Pistons Stymied in a Nailbiting Game 5—For the Fifth Year in a Row

Rasheed Wallace not happy after another Game 5 lossYou watched that game last night, right?

Pistons fans went to bed anxious and upset (and in some circles perhaps a little tipsy…) when all was said and done in what was, again, one of the most entertaining games of these 2008 playoffs. Meanwhile Celtics fans probably called it a night battling anxiety as well—the good kind mixed in with a little bit of the bad kind. Their team’s thrilling 106-102 win puts them within a single win of advancing to the NBA Finals and ousting the pesky Pistons once and for all.

It’s a good place to be. Teams who win Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 go on to win the series 83% of the time. I’m sure that statistic goes up when the team in question is an elite defensive squad stacked with veterans like the Celtics are.

But now they have to get on a plane once again and try to do what the Pistons nearly did on Wednesday: win on their opponent’s home floor twice in three attempts. It won’t be easy, but based on what we’ve seen so far between these Celtics and Pistons there’s no reason to assume anything. The Pistons are fully capable of blowing out the Celtics and sending it back to Boston for a Game 7 on Sunday. The Celtics—ditto but in reverse. (Does that make sense?)

Rasheed Wallace Photo Credit: Icon SMI

At any rate, there’s a lot to discuss from last night’s game: Kendrick Perkins’ beastly performance, the Ray Allen Ship finally landing, Flip Saunders’ effective three-guard lineup, all those triples Rasheed Wallace rained down on the Garden. We’ll try to get to all of that over the next day or so. (I’m sure ETB reader phil anselmo will have a few words about his man Perkins in the comments section of this post.)

For now, there’s just two things I want to point you towards. The first will be tough for Pistons fans to stomach, so read on at your own peril: a reader over at TrueHoop made the following astute observation of the final scores in the last five Game 5’s the Pistons have been a part of, all of which were played with the series tied 2-2. I had not realized this at all:

2008: Boston Celtics 106, Detroit Pistons 102
2007: Cleveland Cavaliers 109, Detroit Pistons 107 (2OT)
2006: Cleveland Cavaliers 86, Detroit Pistons 84
2005: San Antonio Spurs 96, Detroit Pistons 95 (OT)
2004: New Jersey Nets 127, Detroit Pistons 120 (3OT)

In a word—wow. (And in another, “thanks” to TrueHoop for posting that reader email.)

The other quickie is Rasheed Wallace’s gently worded post-game thoughts on the officiating in Game 5. This fine example of ‘Sheed being ‘Sheed will score him many points with David Stern and the NBA Police, I’m sure:

“All that bull(sh##)-(f–ing) calls they had out there,” he said. “With (officials) Mike (Callahan) and Kenny (Mauer) — you’ve all seen that (sh##). You saw them calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they’re calling that (sh##). That (sh##) ain’t basketball out there. It’s all (f–ing) entertainment. You all should know that (sh##). It’s all (f–ing) entertainment.”

More on Boston’s big 106-102 win in Game 5 later.

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