The Celtics had to hang on for dear life last night, but they did the job at the free throw line in the final minutes and closed out the Detroit Pistons 106-102 in last night’s game five of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Mark Murphy says it was a night of transformation at the Garden. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics hoping to avoid having to play a game seven on Sunday, while the Pistons are already counting on it. Mike Szostak has the Celtics able to hold off the furious fourth quarter comeback by the Pistons. Paul Doyle has the Celtics pulling out perhaps their most important victory of the season. Scott Souza has the Celtics able to sweat out a close one at the Garden. Bill Doyle has the big three coming up big in game five for the Celtics. Mike Fine has the Celtics one win away from the finals. Jeff Howe has the Celtics remaining flawless in the most important games.
On the BSMW Full Court Press Kevin Henkin says to remember the win and forget everything else.
Dan Shaughnessy calls last night “one of the more exciting playoff games in the New or Old Garden.” Bill Reynolds says that this one harks back to the glory days of the Bird era. Jeff Jacobs has Ray Allen proving to be the difference for the Celtics last night. Lenny Megliola says that these teams deserve each other and the intensity that they put into these games. Bill Burt says that will Ray Allen on track, it changes everything for the Celtics. Tim Weisberg says that the three was the key to game five.
Steve Bulpett has Kendrick Perkins setting the tone for the Celtics and leading the way on the boards. Monique Walker has Perkins taking center stage in the first half. Robert Lee has Perkins putting together an “unforgettable, career night.” Matt Langone has Perkins playing the game of his life last night.
Bob Ryan has Ray Allen looking a lot more like the Ray Allen of old last night. Tony Massarotti has Allen finding his stroke at just the right time for the Celtics. Jennifer Toland has more on Allen finding his stride at just the right time for the Celtics. Dan Ventura has Kevin Garnett coming up big last night for the Celtics. Michael Vega has Garnett hitting the clutch free throws which sealed the game for the Celtics.
Steve Buckley has Paul Pierce disappointed with how the Celtics let the Pistons back into the game in the fourth quarter after leading by as many as 17 points in the second half. Reynolds has the Celtics defending the home court, just as they needed to. Lee says that as Rajon Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. Szostak has the Celtics altering their defense on Antonio McDyess last night.
Buckley reports that Tony Allen injured himself in practice Tuesday afternoon, and his status for the rest of the postseason is up in the air. If the Celtics manage to advance to the finals and if they play the Lakers, the Celtics could be missing a key Kobe Bryant defender. Lee has more on how Allen’s 2008 season could be over right now. Jessica Camerato notes that the injury could be the end of Allen’s Celtics career.
Julian Benbow has Rasheed Wallace going off on the officiating. Massarotti says that Richard Hamilton is underrated. Ventura has Theo Ratliff grateful to be playing in big games once again. Toland look at how Ratliff played a small part in Celtics’ big deal last summer. Vega has a look at how Jason Maxiell, though undersized for a big man, has given the Pistons a huge lift off the bench with his energy.
Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers electing to put the Pistons on the line at the end of the game rather than allow them to shoot three pointers. The Globe notebook has more on the injury to Tony Allen. Szostak’s notebook has Ray Allen finding his shooting touch. Doyle’s notebook has the Lakers looking to get well rested for the finals by closing out the Spurs tonight. Burt’s notebook has the Celtics following the game plan.
Over in the Metro, I’ve got a look at why the change in media access to athletes isn’t a big deal to the reader.
Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox bats silenced by Erik Bedard last night. Amalie Benjamin has the shutout leaving Tim Wakefield with no support on the night. Sean McAdam has more on the Sox bats going south out west. Jeff Goldberg notes that the road remains a tough place for the Sox.
Nick Cafardo says that even though Manny Ramirez is downplaying and even joking about his upcoming 500th home run, you can tell it really means a lot to him. Michael Silverman advises the Red Sox to rest Daisuke Matsuzaka and not let him push on through his fatigue. Horrigan has Daisuke Matsuzaka slated for an MRI tomorrow. McAdam has a more detailed report on Matsuzaka and what the Sox are doing with him. Silverman has Tim Wakefield taking the hard luck loss.
Horrigan’s notebook expects Kevin Youkilis to be back in the lineup tomorrow against the Orioles. Benjamin’s notebook has more on Matsuzaka’s scheduled MRI. McAdam’s notebook also reports that Youkilis should be back in the lineup tomorrow. Goldberg
s notebook has more on the status of Dice-K.
Karen Guregian has tight end David Thomas happy to be back on on the field for the Patriots and looking forward to playing again. David Heuschkel has more on Thomas hoping to bounce back from a lost season last year.
Mark Farinella has Matt Gutierrez doing his best to take advantage of any opportunity he gets. Shalise Manza Young also has Gutierrez hoping his hard work will pay off. Christopher L. Gasper has cornerback Mike Richardson hoping to make an impact this season.
Mike Reiss has new safety Tank Williams getting some work in at linebacker in passing camp yesterday. Christopher Price also has a look at the hard hitting Williams. Douglas Flynn has safety Ray Ventrone getting in work at wide receiver yesterday. Farinella has more on the Ray Ventrone Experiment.