NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Boston
(Wednesday, April 18th)
Final Score: Detroit 91, Boston 89
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Ronald Murray hit the game-winning jumper at the buzzer, as the Detroit Pistons closed out the regular season with a 91-89 win over Boston at TD Banknorth Garden.
With Boston trailing 89-85, Ryan Gomes drained on a layup with 1:03 remaining, and Rajon Rondo converted a pair of free throws to tie the score at 89 with 3.9 seconds on the clock.
Murray then took the inbound pass, dribbled around the left wing, and scored on an off-balanced jumper from the elbow with 0.1 on the clock to lift Detroit to victory.
"It was either for Flip (Murray), or Lindsey (Hunter) or Amir (Johnson)," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "So it was kind of 1, 2, 3, 4 options. So we got the ball on the top and just let Flip (Murray) go."
Detroit (53-29) already captured home-court advantage in the East playoffs and its third straight division title -- the fifth in six years and eighth since the 1987-88 campaign. Detroit is also in the postseason for the sixth straight year and owns a 53-40 record in the playoffs since the 2001-02 season.
The Pistons will play Orlando in the first round, starting Saturday at 7 p.m. (et).
Amir Johnson posted 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Central Division- champion Pistons, who split their last four games. Murray ended with 16 points, and Jason Maxiell and Antonio McDyess both finished with 11.
Rondo notched 19 points and nine assists for Boston (24-58), which will miss the playoffs for a second straight year. Allan Ray scored 18 points and Al Jefferson added 17 points and 15 boards for the Celtics, who lost eight of their last nine games.
"That was a fitting end," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "That's how the season has gone. The number one thing that I told them that I am most proud of over the whole year is that through all the turmoil and adversity, they never wavered as a team."
Boston raced out to a 13-6 lead on Jefferson's turnaround jumper just past the midway point, and led 22-19 heading into the second.
Detroit took the lead, 36-33, on a 7-1 spurt sparked by a McDyess jumper with 8:34 remaining, but failed to maintain it down the stretch, as Boston held a 49-45 halftime advantage.
The Pistons regained control on a 16-5 run finished by a Murray jumper with just less than two minutes to go in the third for a 65-61 edge, and led 69-67 heading into the fourth.
Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were inactive and Dale Davis started in place of Chris Webber for the Pistons, whose only regular starters were Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince...Wednesday's game between Boston and Detroit was the fourth and final meeting of the season. The Pistons were 4-0 in the series and have won eight straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings...Detroit has won three straight, six of seven and seven of its last nine trips to Beantown.
04/19 01:44:12 ET