AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Rasheed Wallace walked into The Palace like he owned the place, strutting into his old locker room and joking around with ex-teammates.
"This is my building," he said before the game.
Wallace's mood soured a few hours later.
Charlie Villanueva, who essentially replaced Wallace in the offseason, enjoyed spoiling Wallace's first game as an ex-Piston at The Palace.
"Of course, he wanted to show the fans what they've been missing," Villanueva said. "But Charlie V's here."
Villanueva scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, but Wallace wasn't impressed.
"Chuck hit a couple 3s," Wallace said. "He didn't do anything extravagant."
Wallace had 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting in the arena, where the once-adored player received a mixed welcome during a special introduction and was booed late in the closely contested game.
"That's how it's supposed to be," he said.
Nothing, though, will diminish the memories from the Motor City.
He was a trade-deadline acquisition during Detroit's 2004 championship season and he helped the franchise be a contender for four more years until it went into a rebuilding mode by trading Chauncey Billups last season.
"It was the best time of my career," Wallace said. "We had an awesome team and a [heck] of a run.
"We won it once and we definitely felt we could've won it a whole lot more, but that's the way the cookie crumbles."
The Celtics are 4-8 since they had a 23-5 record after winning on Christmas at Orlando.
"Our guys are frustrated right now, but I told them that we have to do something about this," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I think we think that we're a better team than we really are, and we're trying to win games on cruise control."
"We're not that team that can turn it on and off," Wallace said. "Sometimes we think just because we're the Celtics and we go into a team's building that they're going to back down. We're a good team on paper, but other teams get up for us as a measuring stick."
"Every win is a quality win, but this was really important because Boston is one of the best teams in the East," Detroit coach John Kuester said.
Boston did not have Kevin Garnett for the 11th time this season, but his right knee is expected to be healthy enough for him to play Friday at home against Portland.
"It is going to be huge to get him back, but we can't just rely on that," Eddie House said. "We were pretty good without him last year, so we know we can do it. We just have to play harder."
Even without their All-Star forward, the Celtics led by as much as 12 and were ahead by eight early in the third.
The Pistons responded with a 19-6 run that included seven points from Stuckey.
Boston was ahead by five with nine minutes left, then Stuckey had six points in an 11-0 surge that set the Pistons up for the victory.
"He was phenomenal," Kuester said
Pistons owner Karen Davidson said, "The options are being explored," when asked after the first quarter if the team was for sale. ... A jeering fan called Glen "Big Baby" Davis a "fat boy" and told him to lose some weight. Davis responded with an expletive. "We know what happened, and that's unacceptable," Rivers said. "It's tough when the fans are yelling that stuff at you, but you have to be stronger than that."
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