He’s still got game.
After struggling through the first four games of the series, Ray Allen resurrected himself in Game 5, scoring 29 points for the Celtics in a 106-102 win over the Detroit Pistons tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden. Boston leads the series, 3-2, with Game 6 coming Friday night in Detroit.
Allen would have made Spike Lee proud tonight. With confidence he hadn’t shown all series, the smooth-shooting guard hit 5 of 6 three pointers in the game. His 16 points in the third quarter keyed a Celtics run after halftime that gave Boston a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Not so fast.
The Celtics led 84-71 heading into the fourth quarter, but Detroit refused to go away. A three-pointer by Chauncey Billups with 4:47 remaining made the score 92-88.
The Celtics extended the lead back up to eight, but Billups drew a foul on a three-point attempt to get it down to five, 98-93, with 2:53 left.
After the teams traded free throws, Rodney Stuckey hit a pair of foul shots to cut the lead to 99-96 with 1:56 remaining. A free throw by Rajon Rondo put the Celtics up four, but Stuckey nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead to one, 100-99, with 1:23 left.
Enter Allen again. With six seconds left on the shot clock, the Celtics inbounded to Allen in the corner, and the veteran guard knocked down a jumper with 1:02 remaining to put the Celtics up three.
Billups missed a layup on the other end, but the Celtics could not get a better shot than a fadeaway 20-footer by Kevin Garnett. Still 102-99, Rondo intentionally fouled Stuckey with 8.2 seconds remaining in the game. The rookie made both free throws to cut the lead to one.
With a lot of nervous faces in the crowd, the Celtics inbounded to Allen, who made both free throws with 6.3 seconds left to out the Celtics back up with three.
Stuckey was intentionally fouled on the other end with 4.5 seconds left, and the rookie missed one of two. Paul Pierce quickly inbounded the ball to Garnett, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds remaining.
With a chance to ice the game, Garnett calmly made both free throws to put the Pistons away.
Allen was one of two unlikely heroes for the Celtics tonight. Known primarily as a banger, Kendrick Perkins also took it to the Pistons offensively. He finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds for the game, forcing Detroit to contend with someone other than Pierce and Garnett.
Not that Garnett was easy to contend with. The Big Ticket was phenomenal tonight, scoring 33 points on 11 of 17 shooting. Pierce added 16 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
The Pistons were led by Billups, who bullied his way for 26 points. Rip Hamilton had 25 points for Detroit.
After scoring 21 points in Game 4, Antonio McDyess had just 4 points and 5 rebounds in Game 5. He fouled out of the game with 4:04 remaining.
We'll have plenty of postgame reaction from this game in a bit. Stay tuned.