NBA: Celtics 98, Pistons 80
BOSTON ó The Allen Iverson trade looked good for the Pistons when they handed the Lakers their first loss of the season and snapped Cleveland’s eight-game winning streak.
It hasn’t helped them against the team they need to beat most.
Rajon Rondo had 18 points and eight assists, outplaying the recent Pistons acquisition and leading the Boston Celtics to a 98-80 victory over Detroit on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals.
“I saw him play like this in the championship last season,” Iverson said of his fellow point guard. “Rondo played great. He did an excellent job coming off picks and getting to the basket and making plays.”
Iverson had 16 points and four assists for Detroit, which fell to 4-3 since he was acquired from Denver for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess. Those two helped the Pistons reach the conference finals, where they lost to Boston in six games as the Celtics went on to win their unprecedented 17th NBA title.
The Pistons followed the trade with wins against Los Angeles and Cleveland ó two of the top teams in the league. But they’ve also lost a pair of blowouts to the defending champs since swapping Billups for Iverson at point guard; the Celtics also beat Detroit handily in Iverson’s Nov. 9 home debut, outscoring them 30-10 in the second quarter before coasting to an 88-76 victory.