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Home victories are no longer good enough for the Boston Celtics. The road to the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference now goes through the Detroit Pistons.
Richard Hamilton scored 25 points, and the Pistons beat the Celtics 103-97 on Thursday to tie the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece and seize the home-court advantage.
''It is even,'' Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. ''We don't sit back and say, 'Oh, look, they are undefeated at home.' ... A lot of the teams they played in the postseason and the regular season were scared of them, as far as [Kevin Garnett] and Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce]. They are good players, but we have good players also.''
Chauncey Billups added 19 points and seven assists, Antonio McDyess 15 points and eight rebounds, Tayshaun Prince 14 points and eight rebounds, Wallace 13 points and 10 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey 13 points for the Pistons, who host Game 3 on Saturday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
''The atmosphere's going to be crazy,'' Hamilton said. ''We're geeked about getting back to our home court.''
Pierce had 26 points, Allen 25 points and Garnett 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost at home for the first time in 10 playoff games. No team has reached the NBA Finals without a road victory, and there's no longer a chance for the Celtics to be the first.
''I fully believe — and I've said it 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. That's just the way it is.''
The Pistons were rusty in Game 1 but shot 49 percent against what was the best defensive team in the league during the regular season.
Perhaps the biggest difference was Billups, who was limited to nine points in Game 1 in his first action since straining his right hamstring in the previous series against the Orlando Magic.
''I told Chaunce, 'You ain't got to be overaggressive out there,''' Hamilton said. '''You can take your time and be the captain of our ship, and we'll try to do a good job of helping you out.'''
This program aired on May 23, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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