Green finished up an all-around performance with 34 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots, but he made several timely plays that made the Celtics’ victory possible. What was once an 18-point lead became as close as three points in the waning seconds, as the Pistons outrebounded the Celtics 52-34 and dominated points in the paint (58-28) and second-chance points 26-7.
The Pistons also had 25 offensive rebounds. Greg Monroe put up 24 points and 17 rebounds against an overmatched Boston front line.
Fourth quarter, :12.8, Celtics 96-93: Green will not let the Celtics lose. The Pistons actually had a great offensive possession, swinging the ball around the perimeter to get the best 3-point look they could, before Villanueva rattled a shot in and out. Green grabbed the rebound, of course, and saved it as he fell out of bounds.
Fourth quarter, :29.5, Celtics 96-93: Yeah, forget that stuff about a productive offensive possession.
Terry took a tough three early in the shot clock, the Pistons grabbed the high rebound and Bradley touched the ball while trying to fight it away out of bounds. Pistons ball.
Fourth quarter, :44, Celtics 96-93: Do not tune out yet, everybody. Off an inbounds set play, Monroe galloped to the hoop for an easy dunk, forcing the Celtics to put together at least one more productive offensive possession to seal this game.
Fourth quarter, :45.3, Celtics 96-91: Jeff Green to the rescue.
After a series of awful possessions by both teams, including a botched open-court layup by Knight after a Celtics turnover, Green collected the ball in the left corner and buried a three to give the Celtics some breathing room.
Honestly, there is no way to do Knight’s missed layup justice. It was more embarrassing than his incident against DeAndre Jordan.
Fourth quarter, 2:28, Celtics 93-90: In a three-point game, the most intriguing battle might be between Rivers and referee Marc Davis.
After Green picked up a personal foul, Davis assessed Rivers a technical from halfway across the court, when Rivers did not even seem to be gesticulating all that much. Rivers continued to talk to Davis, who appeared to wave at Rivers from across the court in a “come at me” gesture.
In the next timeout, after Jonas Jerebko hit a three to pull the Pistons within three, Rivers walked briskly across the court toward Davis. But Davis turned and walked away.
Fourth quarter, 3:35, Celtics 91-83: It figures that on a night when Green often played like the only Celtics player with a pulse, he provides the life-saving shock to Boston’s system.
Green battled for a defensive rebound, ripping it from the hands of Monroe, then dished an outlet pass that turned into a 3-point attempt by Terry. The Jet’s shot rattled out, but Green streaked down the lane for the one-handed putback slam that might give the Celtics the boost they need.
Fourth quarter, 5:40, Celtics 85-80: Bradley had better be careful. He was very close to getting a technical foul after he picked up two questionable reach-in calls on the same possession. Bradley’s frustration is shared by some of his teammates, like Terry and Pierce, who are competing to the end. Some of his teammates, though, do not seem to have much emotion at all — thus the close score in what was once a blowout.
Fourth quarter, 9:21, Celtics 79-74: It is not often Shavlik Randolph gets late minutes because he is outplaying a teammate, but that is why Randolph is on the court at the moment. Wilcox has had a very rough night, as have all the Celtics in dealing with Detroit’s bigs. With less than 10 minutes left in the game, the Celtics are in real danger of having fewer total rebounds than Detroit has offensive rebounds.
The count right now: 26-24.
End of third quarter, Celtics 74-67: And this is a game again.
A very, very boring game.
The Pistons have whittled the Celtics’ 18-point lead down to seven heading into the fourth, and if Charlie Villanueva’s prayer half-courter had gotten closer than clanging off the backboard, this one could be even closer. The Celtics are in another yawnfest against the Pistons, and if recent history is an indication, that favors Detroit.
The Pistons won the two previous uninspired efforts between these teams, and the Celtics are back to sleepwalking against them. All that solid work on the glass in the second quarter is out the window. The Celtics were outrebounded 17-7 in the third quarter and let Detroit track down eight offensive boards in the third.
Third quarter, 7:08, Celtics 66-52: While Green goes off, Pierce is having a relatively easy night. Pierce probably is not complaining, since this is only two days removed from missing a game in Minnesota for personal reasons.
Pierce has 11 points on just seven shots, plus four assists, but has mostly been a bystander to Green and the rest of his Celtics teammates. Green is up to 19 points and Bradley canned a midrange jump shot to give him 11 points, giving Boston four players in double figures.
Halftime, Celtics 54-44: Once the Celtics stopped letting the Pistons grab every offensive rebound in sight, they actually had a fairly easy time pulling away.
After pulling down eight offensive boards in the first quarter, the Pistons were held to only two in the second quarter and saw their five-point lead disappear at the same time. Paced by Green, the Celtics continued to shoot well above 50 percent from the field and outscored the Pistons 29-14 in the frame, registering seven assists on their nine field goals. They committed only two turnovers in the second quarter.
Green leads to way with 14 points, tied for the game-high with Stuckey, who is bullying the smaller Boston guards. Bass is giving Detroit’s bigs trouble with his midrange game, which has opened up his first step to help him get to the hoop with ease. Bass has 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
Second quarter, 5:39, Celtics 42-35: Green will be taking back the lead for Boston, thank you very much.
With almost nothing coming from farther than five feet from the hoop, Green has 14 points to lead all scorers and put the Celtics back into the lead. His attacking has not only generated layups, but has given him five free throws as well.
Second quarter, 9:04, Pistons 34-32: Green got off to a hot start to the game, and he is still in attack mode at the start of the second quarter. Jason Terry, who has shown more aggressiveness off the bench lately, is also forcing the issue with five early points. His 3-pointer from the left corner briefly helped the Celtics tie the score.
The Celtics still need to work harder on the glass at both ends, though. They finally reached more total rebounds than the Pistons have offensive rebounds, but they still trail on the glass 15-10.
End of first quarter, Pistons 30-25: Here is a riddle for you: How does a team outshoot its opponent 58 percent to 48 percent, yet still trail by five points.
Answer: By getting absolutely reamed on the offensive glass.
At the end of the first quarter, the Pistons have eight offensive rebounds, one more than the number of total rebounds for the Celtics. The Pistons have 13 rebounds overall, while the Celtics have zero offensive boards (of course).
The Pistons, who we should mention are 25 games below .500, now have 18 points in the paint and eight assists on 12 field goals.
First quarter, 5:54, Pistons 16-11: We knew the Pistons would have a massive advantage in the post thanks to their size, but this is a bit ridiculous.
With Monroe and Drummond up front, the Pistons have seven offensive rebounds already. The Celtics have six rebounds total. As a result, Detroit already has 12 points in the paint.
The Celtics have a tailormade size mismatch with Rodney Stuckey defending Pierce. Although Stuckey has decent size and strength for a guard, Pierce has been able to shoot over him relatively easy for two simple jump shots. But the Celtics have been more aggressive going to Green, who scored the team’s first five points.
By the way, the Pistons announced late that Calderon will miss the game with a right arm injury. Stuckey, the pride of Eastern Washington University, got the start in his place, in case you were wondering why he was on the court so early. Fortunately for Stuckey, he got out of that place before it installed its bright red football field.
7:02 p.m.: Paul Pierce is a go, but Kevin Garnett still is an unsurprising scratch for the Celtics. We shall see if one of two is enough for the Celtics to snap their two-game losing streak and help turn around a recent rough stretch that has seen them drop seven of their last nine games.
Rajon Rondo made an appearance at the Garden, rocking a brace on his right knee. He declined to speak with reporters in the locker room before taking the court for come shots about an hour before game time.
Hey, look who it is getting some shots up at the Garden. http://t.co/nP57BMpfzI—
Ben Watanabe (@BenjeeBallgame) April 03, 2013
Before you get your hopes up, no, Rondo is nowhere near being ready to play. Celtics coach Doc Rivers merely took it as a promising sign that Rondo was back in the Bay State. Rondo has been doing most of his rehab in Florida after undergoing season-ending surgery on the ACL in his right knee.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: Things have not gone the Celtics’ way lately, either on the court or off.
The Celtics return to TD Garden on Wednesday hoping not only to get back in the win column but also to welcome back Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who were out of commission on Monday. Pierce was back home to deal with a personal matter, and the Celtics hope it is just a one-game absence. Garnett, who has missed eight of the last 10 games, is tentatively scheduled to come back Friday. But Boston certainly would not object to him returning early.
If there is any welcome news for the Celtics (38-36), it is that their opponent is the Pistons (25-50). Following a 1-13 March, the Pistons started off April with a rare victory on Monday, but math tells us that still gives them a 1-14 record in their last 15 games.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.