BOSTON -- Home wins are no longer good enough for the Boston Celtics. The road to the NBA finals in the Eastern Conference now goes through Detroit.
Richard Hamilton bounced back from a poor series opener with 25 points, and the Pistons beat Boston 103-97 Thursday night, tying the conference finals at one game apiece and seizing the home-court advantage that has meant everything to the Celtics.
"It is even," forward Rasheed Wallace said. "We don't sit back and say, 'Oh, look. They are undefeated at home,' or 'They didn't win a game on the road.' ... A lot of the teams they played in the postseason and the regular season were scared of them, as far as KG and Ray and Paul. They are good players, but we have good players, also."
Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost at home for the first time since March 24 against Phoenix. No team has reached the finals without a road victory, and there's no longer a chance for Boston to be the first.
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"I fully believe, and I've said many times, at some point we're going to have to win on the road," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We've gotten away with it thus far. That's been taken away. And if we want what we want, we have to win on the road and that's just the way it is."
Chauncey Billups had 19 points and seven assists, and his rookie backup, Rodney Stuckey hit some clutch jumpers in the fourth quarter and added 13 points for the Pistons, who host Game 3 on Saturday.
"The atmosphere's going to be crazy," Hamilton said. "We're geeked about getting back to our home court. The fans are excited, and now it's our job to take care of home court."
Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who had won 15 in a row at home and gone 9-0 in the playoffs. But the only record that matters now is 0-6 -- their playoff road mark.
"We have no choice now but to get it done on the road," Pierce said.