Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 11:18 am  |  21 responses

Game Notes: Celtics at Pistons

Still getting used to the Answer.

by Eric Woodyard


The anticipation of Allen Iverson’s debut as a Detroit Piston in the Palace of Auburn Hills was almost as big as Barack Obama becoming the first black president of the United States. Almost!

With 22,076 fans in attendance, the game declared a sellout.

Question: With all of the buzz surrounding A.I., what could he be possibly be doing before the game?

Answer: Sitting in the locker room, answering phone calls and being as relaxed as he could possibly be.

Iverson was noticeably loose as he talked and lounged on the comfortable leather seats, while the Pistons Athletic Trainer, Mike Abdenour brought out multiple Reebok sneaks for the legend.

“How about these A.I.?” Abdenour asks as he shows A.I. the original Questions.

“I don’t know man,” Iverson says.

I hoped he rocked the Questions (my favorite sneaks of all time!) but he went with his seventh sneaker instead. He chose his retro shoe, Reebok’s The Answer XII, in Piston red, white and blue. Not only did he rock these fresh kicks, he also threw on a pair of blue socks, a blue sleeve and a blue headband. Nobody in the League has as much on-court swag as this man.

While Iverson was getting fresh to death, Doc Rivers was in the opposite hallway strategizing on how to stop A.I.

“You can’t pressure Allen, and with Chauncey, they didn’t turn the ball over but you could pressure them and make them eat up clock,” Rivers says. “Now with Allen you can’t pressure them because he’ll beat you off the dribble and go to the basket.”

After all of pre-game chatter from both locker rooms, it was time for both teams to punch in for another night at the office.

Nothing like initiationBut before the Pistons took the court for their warm-ups, they had to welcome Iverson into their brotherhood. Jason Maxiell and Kwame Brown each held Iverson hostage in the tunnel as Rip Hamilton gave him his traditional Piston blows to the stomach. A.I was all smiles.

As Iverson hit the floor for warm-ups with the Pistons the crowd erupted! Iverson handled the pressure so cool that you would’ve sworn he had been here before. In the words of Kanye West, his swagger was on a “hundred, thousand, trillion!”

Then when the Pistons’ announcer, John Mason, called A.I.’s name in the starting lineup, you could barely hear yourself think. (Or maybe that was just me)

“ALLEN THE I-VERSON!!!” Mason says.

Then it was game time!

First quarter

The game started off very gritty with players playing war in the paint.

8:48 — A.I. nailed the first basket of the game off of an 18-footer.

8:31 — Paul Pierce quickly responded for the Cs with a fast break lay-up.

Rondo *trying* to defend.5:21 — Iverson nailed another midrange J after shaking Rondo out of his compression shorts. The fans were eating this up.

2:52 — Iverson chips in another bucket on a drive to the cup for his sixth point of the quarter. He hit three of his four shots in the quarter.

2:19 — After turning the ball over, Iverson picked up his second foul and was forced to take a seat. KG was intense as ever but none of his shots were falling as he knocked down only one of his first seven shots.

Pierce was hacking like crazy and he picked up his third foul with only 26.3 remaining. He went nuts on the third foul and was issued a technical foul. Pierce also had to take a seat.

In Pierce’s defense, Doc Rivers spoke up for Pierce and he was also t’d up and Rip converted on only one of the two free throws.

Rip also shot badly as he went 0-5.

Both teams shot under 30 percent in the quarter but the Pistons were ahead 19-17 going into the huddle. This is Pistons-Celtics basketball…Defense!!

Second quarter

The Pistons’ DJ got the crowd hype at the beginning of the quarter with Kanye West’s “Stronger.” The Cs then seemed to use this song as motivation as they got “stronger” in the paint.

Leon Powe and Glen “Big Baby” Davis quickly exposed Kwame Brown and Jason Maxiell with two quick buckets.

11:18 — Powe threw down a thunderous dunk off a pretty feed from Eddie House.

10:40 — Big Baby knocked down a nine-foot turnaround J.

The 2008 WNBA Champions, Detroit Shock, were congratulated on the screen and Cheryl Ford and Plenette Pierson were in the building. (It seems like Cheryl looks more and more like her father, Karl Malone, every single day…back to the game.)

Tayshaun Prince was the only Piston that seemed to be able to get a basket. His J was stuck on automatic. He had six points in the quarter and finished the half with 11 points.

Tony Allen was the better Allen for the Cs as he matched Tayshaun on the other end. He had 12 points in the quarter and 13 for the half on 6-8 shooting.

Iverson finished the half with just eight points and four turnovers after the quick start. The C’s closed out the half in command with a 47-29 lead.


The Pistons’ Guard, Rodney Stuckey was in the hallway being checked out by team doctors.

Third quarter

The half started out the same way it did in the first half, very gritty.

KG was still shooting flat.

10:25 — A.I. led the fast break and left the pass for Amir Johnson who scored on a nice Lay-up. And-1!

Tay doing what he does best.10:06 — Ray Allen scored a lay-up for the Cs.

Tay was still the only Piston scoring as he chipped in 10 points in the quarter.

A injury report was then handed out: “Rodney Stuckey experienced symptoms of dizziness and felt light-headed at the end of the first half…he will not return.”

The C’s finished the quarter still in control 69-49.

Fourth quarter

Aaron Aflallo and Will Bynum started the quarter off. The Pistons were looking for anything.

Allen Iverson sat out most of the fourth quarter and he didn’t return until 3:44.

Although the Pistons made an effort, the game was over by the middle of the quarter and fans began leaving early.

0:48 — Tony Allen put an exclamation point on the game as he finished with a reverse slam!

The Cs spoiled A.I.’s home debut with 88-76 victory.

A.I. finished with just 10 points on 4-11 shooting in 31 minutes of action.

Tony Allen was not only the better Allen for the second quarter but he was also the better Allen for the game, as he led the Cs with 23 points.


A special press conference was held for Allen Iverson and the media was surrounding him like a dance battle at a teen party.

He addressed the media with professionalism and ended with a few good quotes:

On the game: “We got a lot of good looks at the basket and we just didn’t know shots down.”

On his style: “I’m a totally different player than what they’re used to playing with and we just gonna have to get used to each other. But we weren’t playing no scrubs, they are the world champions.”

On team chemistry: “I’m a basketball player and I’ve been doing this since I was eight years old so I know how to play the game. If you’re playing pick-up and you got five guys against five guys and the guys don’t know each other than the best five is gonna win.”

On his conditioning: “I can play another quarter, I’m fine. I don’t have any excuses, I’m 100 percent and I’m ready to go.”

On the city of Detroit: “This is where I wanna be. Obviously I didn’t dream it up like this, in my dreams we won the first game that I played, and I came in here and the crowd treated me like they did, but we won the basketball game. This is the way it is but I have to be able to accept what happened and move forward and it’s all about being a competitor but we got another one on Tuesday and that’s the one (that) we’re concentrating on.”

The Pistons will face the Kings Tues. to start their four-game west coast road trip. I’m sure A.I. will be more than ready to get his first win.

“My goal is to win a championship and that’s all I’m concerned about,” Iverson said.

Hoping he's alright.

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  • kev

    I know it would be hard for him to accept but Iverson should be the sixth man on this squad a la manu in San Antonio. Come of the bench and score. AI doesn’t play well with other good players, he dribbles way too much and doesn’t play d.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I shouldn’t read this, which means i’ll be back in 10 minutes after reading it.

  • Anton

    Tough game for the Pistons, we all had pain in our chests watching from the 2nd quarter onwards.
    Shake it off and get ready for some easy upcoming wins, boys.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Love those quotes from AI. Saying he can play another quarter and also saying he is focused on winning a chip gets my heart racing. However, words are just words.
    That pic is spectacular.

  • riggs

    lol @ house looking like hes surfing

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    “Surrounding him like a dance battle at a team party”?

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    That photo of the guys in the tunnel is pretty amazing. I’d like that to be my desktop background. Thanks for the notes. He is not feeling those Questions, is he? Ripped them off in Jersey as well. Sounds like a cool atmosphere in Detroit before the game. Too bad it had to happen like that. Damn Celtics. haha

  • http://www.slamonline.com John D

    No mention of how suffocating the Celtics D was in the first half?

  • http://joebasketball.blogspot.com JoeBasketball

    The whole team, Iverson especially, just couldn’t stop penetration, same with the New Jersey game. I love Iverson’s attitude, but I dislike his mindset, a warrior that truly wants a win understands that heart and hard work goes into the defensive end. Iverson is athletically capable of stopping fast points such as Rondo, it’s just a case of whether or not he puts in the same effort he does on offense.

    Offensively, I wasn’t too disapointed with AI’s performance. By my count, the pistons players missed around 10 open/good looks off Iverson passes that would usually be consistent buckets on another night. It’s hard for a player to rack up assists if his teammates aren’t making their shots (Rip 0-8, Maxiell 0-5, Sheed 4-17). Say just half of those missed open looks that Iverson produced went in, it finishes a one possesion game with Iverson putting 10 points and 9 assists on the board in 30 minutes. If Iverson’s production becomes a consistent problem (at least wait until we finish the west coast trip to judge) THEN we can call him a mistake. Until then, give it time to prove how much this trade benefits us.

    This was definately a winable game. Overall, I guess I’m not too disapointed with this after reviewing what went wrong. One thing that does worry me however, is the lack of a defensively solid big man that can protect the basket and give the guards help when penetration comes (O’neal 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, Duncan 2003, 2005, 2007, Ben Wallace 2004, Garnett 2008, notice the pattern?).

    still very early days. Give it a month at least before we jump to any conclusions

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  • http://n/a 007

    imo..iverson is a competitor as he say he is..but he doesnt reli thrive in a team play environment since he has a scorers mentality in a pg’s body.
    that alone has a definite impact on this current pistons team,psychologically wise in terms of how they gel. D sixers was d best team to compliment iversons skills.too bad they didnt reli work things out.I think ivy retires w/o a chip. Willing to bet any1 on this.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I thought Iverson did better on defense in Detroit than he did in Denver. Far less gambling, and he did a decent job staying in front of Rondo. If Fisher couldn’t stop Rondo from penetrating, Iverson wasn’t. Plus, Iverson hates screens. He avoids contact by either “dying” on the screen, or going over the top very aggressively. This strategy benefits Rondo, who needs players to go under screens to contain him.
    I think Boston’s defense is outstanding and Detroit’s offense is not right now. The Pistons lack a true post threat because Rasheed just wants to set picks and shoot threes. On paper, the Pistons should be set at every position, (and if you play video games you know what I’m talking about) but in real life Sheed is killing them with his love of love jumpshots. Plus, he has never been strong on the boards. The Pistons will be better when they get McDyess back, because right now they are pretty thin on that bench.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I agree with some of what you Say allen, but I disagree that we have a thin bench. Losing McDyess definitely hurt, but our bench still consists of Stuckey, Maxiell, Hermann (he has been playing great), Afflalo, Kwame (don’t laugh, he has been good so far), Will Bynum (quite a pleasant surprise), and the rook Walter Sharpe (coming along pretty quickly). I actually thought we had the best bench in the East (if not the L) before we lost McDyess. It is still really good, just lacking a 5th big man.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Good write up Ryne, much more detailed than mine.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I don’t trust any of those guys outside of Stuckey to score. And Stuckey can’t shoot jumpers. I saw them try to post Max up several times and he just got ate up down there by the Celtics bigs. I think y’all need post scoring across the board.
    The Pistons need a real prescence down low. Right now, the Celtics big three perfectly complement each other most of the time. The Pistons are still struggling to find that.
    Although, Rip missed a lot of open shots yesterday. I wouldn’t count on that in the future. Cats are going to get used to getting the ball in easy positions with Iverosn on their squad. It’ll come.

  • http://www.garrettelliott.com Garrett

    I wish Amir had a go-to move.

  • Will Lee

    alot of you guys understand the game here. We all know Pistons is going nowhere with that style. This is the international game era, and you can’t win by penetrating everytime

  • Mark Z

    Oh well. At least Adidas got to make a clever shirt.

    I do think this is Dumars taking a 1 yr rental on AI and nothing more.

  • ab_40

    holly that pic is at the photo section on nba.com

  • Lei Wang

    First I’m surprised to see A.I in Answer 7,haha Frankly,I’m not a supporter of the pistons but definitely a A.I fan.I mean that wherever Iverson goes,I’ll be his bigest fan.Wallpaper of my laptop,screen of my cellphone and posters.For me,it’s just about the jersey he wears I wish I could give my life away to pray that he wins a championship anyway.lose one game or two doesn’t mean anything,just keep fighting and reach the goal you want and when Iverson retired he could say that there’s nothing to feel guilty.

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