Pistons bounce back

From the Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons provide plenty of fodder for those who want to criticize them for playing their best only when down or doubted.

Antonio McDyess doesn't.

He often plays with the most energy on a team that traditionally peaks and flops depending on whether it's up, even or behind in a series.

Playing his best playoff game in perhaps a decade, McDyess had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lift Detroit to a 94-75 series-evening win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

"You only have so many opportunities, and they're limited, especially for me," he said. "I'm at the end of my career, and I just feel like leaving everything out on the floor."

Game 5 is Wednesday night at Boston.

Boston's Big Three shot awfully, as did most of the Celtics, but they stayed competitive for much of the game thanks to a stark disparity in free throws.

Kevin Garnett (16 points), Paul Pierce (16) and Ray Allen (11) combined to miss their first seven shots and finished 11 for 38 from the field.

"They bumped us off spots and were more physical and aggressive all night," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "Usually the winner is the team that was more aggressive."

Richard Hamilton scored 20 points on eight-for-10 shooting and Chauncey Billups had 10 points and seven assists in 32 minutes for the Pistons.

Detroit scored the first 10 points and started the second quarter with an 11-2 run but led only 43-39 at halftime.

The Pistons finally shook free with a 29-17 fourth quarter.

The Celtics stayed in the game by making 17 of 20 free throws in the first half while Detroit was five for nine.

Boston had more points from the line (32) than from the field early in the fourth quarter when it pulled to within 67-62.

The Celtics finished 32 for 39 from the free-throw line, and the Pistons were 20 for 26.

"We didn't play well, but we hung in there by getting to the foul line," Rivers said. "Then, we just couldn't make plays."

Detroit improved to 5-0 in games following losses in this year's playoffs. Boston fell to 1-7 on the road and 0-6 when trailing after three quarters.

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