1. The additions of Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown on Boston's side and Juan Dixon and Theo Ratliff in the Pistons' corner will make the game films of the regular-season meetings less valuable. Cassell will change the dynamic of the Celtics' bench with his scoring ability. Dixon seems to be settling in as the backup shooting guard and Ratliff showed in his first game that he's still a defensive presence with his long arms and shotblocking ability.
2. I don't think Flip Saunders wants Amir Johnson to be guarding Kevin Garnett any longer, at least not this season.
3. Rajon Rondo tends to get into foul trouble but he's been effective against the Pistons at getting into the lane and finishing, at least in short bursts.
4. Tayshaun Prince cannot disappear, like he did in Boston and he's been prone to do in recent conference finals. When he's assertive and making shots, the Pistons elevate themselves to the best team in the NBA.
In the 'So You Want To Be An NBA Beat Writer' file:
I jinxed myself by booking flights to Boston and White Plains, NY with US Airways. That was the same airline that left me stranded in Philly for seven hours in December instead of holding up my connector a few minutes.
Anyway, there were weather problems along the East Coast and Midwest on Saturday morning for my return trip. I was supposed to connect through Philly again from White Plains.
While my friend and pseudo-taxi driver Marty was driving me to the airport, I got a message that my flight was delayed, I wouldn't make my connector on time and that I couldn't get home until Sunday.
After a long wait to talk to a US Airways rep, the rep refused to rebook me on a direct Northwest flight at 4 p.m., then said I might make my connector after all. That was all a moot point minutes later after I got dropped off, since my first flight was cancelled.
Following 5 1/2 mind-numbing hours in a small airport, I was eventually placed on the Northwest flight but that wound up being delayed 1 1/2 hours. After finally getting back at 7 p.m. and taking a crowded shuttle to the Green Lot, I pushed my automatic car door opener and nothing happened. My car battery was dead, so I had to call for help and shiver for a half-hour until I got a jump.
Thank God winter is almost over!