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Pistons notebook

Expect a better Billups

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Chris McCosky
The Detroit News / May 22, 2008

Rajon Rondo had some in the media a little worried after Game 1 when he skipped out without talking.

"My throat was hurting me, was bothering me, and I was tired; no big deal," he said yesterday.

His performance Tuesday night was a big deal. His 11 points, 7 assists, and 5 steals got the better of Chauncey Billups and the Pistons.

"Coach [Doc ] Rivers told me to use my quickness and my speed to attack Chauncey and put pressure on him up the court," Rondo said. "You know, he was going to try to back me down, but other than that, he hasn't checked me at the other end."

Rip Hamilton guarded Rondo most of the time in Game 1, but Rondo expects a different beast in tonight's Game 2.

"I'm sure he'll come back and be very aggressive," Rondo said of Billups, "but I'm going to hold my ground and try to be aggressive."

Rondo has been unfazed by the pundits saying there is a huge mismatch at point guard in this series, favoring the Pistons.

"I haven't done much in this league, and Chauncey is a great player and he's proven himself," Rondo said. "I don't feel any pressure at all because my teammates have my back, but then again, it comes down to the point guards who run the team. So I'll just try to go out there and run my team, let Paul [ Pierce], Ray [ Allen], and [Kevin Garnett] make the plays."

Adjustment game

The Celtics expect the Pistons to alter their defense in Game 2, particularly against the pick-and-roll.

"Obviously, they're going to try to keep us from dribble penetration," said Rivers, whose team scored 44 points in the paint in Game 1. "I guarantee you that's one of the adjustments. But there's only so many things you can do, and then when they do it, we have to adjust to it. We'll be ready."

No worse for wear

Billups said his tender hamstring did not suffer any setbacks in Game 1. "I am not worried about that," he said. "I am willing to do what I need to do."

Hamilton, however, said the Pistons need to lighten some of Billups's workload.

"If you watch our offense, 80 percent of the time it starts with the ball in Chauncey's hands," Hamilton said. "We have to put him in a situation where he can come out and catch the ball and not have to spend a whole lot of energy bringing it up the court."

Hamilton suggested that he or Prince could bring the ball up.

"[Boston] is so aggressive on the strong side of the ball," said Hamilton. "Chauncey has to spend so much energy bringing it up, then when he comes off he's facing a loaded-up defense. Once he gets out of that, there's seven or eight seconds on the shot clock."

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