Fan gets under Big Baby's skin
Celtics forward Glen Davis let a jeering fan get under his skin as the heckler shouted, "Fat Boy!" and told Davis to lose some weight. Big Baby responded by shouting an obscenity at the fan.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers noted that Davis needed to have a level head in that type of situation.
"I tell the guys all the time ... [the fans] have every right to scream and yell," said Rivers. "You have to be strong enough to walk away, no matter what is said."
Asked if Davis would be punished -- he's already been fined this season by the Celtics for the offcourt incident that ended with Davis fracturing his right thumb in October, and he offered to pay part of the fine incurred by Rivers for a flagrant foul call on Davis earlier this month that resulted in the coach's ejection -- Rivers called Big Baby's actions "unacceptable," but indicated the Celtics were unlikely to take action.
"Not from me, but he might from the league," said Rivers. "I'm upset that we lost, people call me names, but that's part of the game. If you win the game, it keeps a lot of people quiet."
The Palace was the sight of the infamous 2004 brawl between the Pacers and Pistons.
Doc's Opinion: We think we're better than we are
Rivers came down hard on his team, suggesting Boston might think higher of itself than what it has shown on the court in recent games.
"I think we think we're better than what we are," said Rivers. "We get a lead and then we think we can put it on cruise. In the NBA, you can't do that. And we've never done that. But it's clear, we get a lead, and we go to individual ball, with guys trying to get numbers. And then we lose focus.
"Like I told our guys -- they're frustrated in there -- I said, 'Hey guys, it's great to be frustrated, but we've got to do something about it.'"
Added Rasheed Wallace: "Sometimes we think just because we're the Celtics and we go into a team's building that they're going to back down. We're a good team on paper, but other teams get up for us as a measuring stick."
Losers of eight of their last 12 games, including three in a row, Boston is hopeful the return of Kevin Garnett on Friday against the Trail Blazers will light a spark. But, with or without the Big Ticket, the Celtics need to find an answer to their third-quarter woes.
The Pistons outscored Boston 21-13 in the third Wednesday.
"We have great feel when we leave the locker room," said guard Eddie House. "We come in off the first half feeling good about what we did and know that we can play better. But, for whatever reason, we are just flat. It seems like we are trying to get loose and warmed-up and the other team is bringing it to us and playing with a lot more effort. It just seemed like [the Pistons] were outplaying us as far as hustle.”
After the jump: Celtics can't flip the switch; Opposing view: Detroit locker room; Wallace's return spoiled.
Celtics can't flip the switch
The Celtics were ahead by 11 before Austin Daye connected on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close out the first half. Boston then went the first six-plus minutes of the second half with just one field goal as Detroit rallied to make it a one-possession game.
After thriving off Detroit's turnovers in the first half, the Celtics couldn't stop giving the ball away in the third quarter, and it cost them.
"We can’t win a championship, turning it on and off," said House. "We have to figure out a way to maintain our play for 48 minutes, or however long the game is going to go. We just need to figure out what we are doing in between halftime and that third quarter to prepare for that second half and play like the first half."
Added Rivers: "We gave up a horrible 3-pointer to end the [first] half, while playing bad defense. I thought it carried over to the first five or six minutes of the third quarter. Then we realized we had a fight on our hands.
"We couldn't get it going. It's very difficult to turn the switch on and off."
Opposing view: Tale of two halves
Pistons coach John Kuester resorted to the oldest sports cliche in the book, but after his team limited the Celtics to 42.9 percent shooting and a mere 30 second-half points, he could be forgiven for his hackneyed take on the game.
"I really believe it was a tale of two halves," said Kuester. "Holding a team that is as well-coached and as talented as Boston is to 30 points in the second half was huge. It seems like when Rodney Stuckey rebounds and gets to the boards -– really, we don’t have great size -- it makes a huge difference for us. Getting 11 rebounds, he played such a gutsy game. He played a passion game for 48 minutes. There was a passion for the entire game with him and I was so impressed with how he played.
"Rip [Hamilton] logged seven turnovers in the first half, none in the second half, and ended up with eight assists, which was huge for us. Chucky Atkins getting crunched and coming back in and giving us some extra minutes -– we needed that, too. We needed that at that stage of the game. We became unselfish there at the end and we had some scenarios where guys could make one extra pass and when we start doing that, we'll be effective."
The Pistons also seemed to fluster Boston by switching to a zone defense in the second half.
"I thought the zone slowed them down a little bit," said Stuckey. "We got out, increased the ball movement, and got some easy baskets. Austin [Daye] came in and stepped up for us tonight. Charlie [Villanueva] came off the bench and did a good job. We just played as a team tonight."
Added Villanueva: "It's a very big game. We played great basketball. We were a little careless at the beginning, in the first half of the game, but we stayed with them. We played with a lot of passion and energy, and down the stretch we got stops that we needed."
Villanueva, who hit a pair of monster fourth-quarter 3-pointers as part of a 19-point effort, wasn't bashful about showing his emotions on the court.
"I was just into the game, trash-talking a little bit," he said. "That's a part of the game. I was fired up. I wanted to win this game very badly. It's a good way to start this homestand. Hopefully we build on it."
Wallace's return spoiled by loss
Returning to his old stomping grounds for the first time since signing with Boston, Wallace received a standing ovation while being introduced as part of the Celtics' starting lineup.
Wallace, who played five seasons with the Pistons and won the NBA championship with them in 2004, scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds and three steals, but was upstaged by Detroit's rally from a double-digit deficit.
"Of course he wanted to show the fans what they've been missing," Villanueva said of Wallace. "But Charlie V's here."
Even after Villanueva scored 10 of his 19 points in the final quarter, Wallace offered muted praise.
"Chuck hit a couple 3's," said Wallace. "He didn't do anything extravagant."
But Wallace did express great fondness for Detroit.
"It was the best time of my career," said Wallace. "We had an awesome team and a hell of a run. We won it once and we definitely felt we could have won it a whole lot more, but that's the way the cookie crumbles."
Materials from the Associated Press were used.