The host Detroit Pistons hung with the Celtics for three quarters, but the men in green took care of business in the fourth, knocking down key shot after key shot when it mattered most in order to snap a two-game losing skid with a solid win on the road, 105-100.
Everything clicked offensively down the stretch for the Celtics, who outscored Detroit 33-25 in the fourth quarter. Everyone was knocking down big shots — Nate Robinson had three long 3-pointers, Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-point dagger of his own and the Celtics hit 10 consecutive free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.
Six Celtics scored in double figures on the evening, led by Ray Allen, who quietly piled up 18. Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett led a Celtics team that shot 26-for-31 from the free-throw line, icing the win when things got close in the final minutes.
Rookie Jonas Jerebko had 16 points to lead four Pistons in double figures, but Detroit was significantly weakened in the second half as minor injuries set in for Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince.
The Celtics head home with their first win in a week, rebounding nicely from their embarrassing loss over the weekend to the NBA-worst Nets.
Celtics 105, Pistons 100
The Palace at Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Mich.
March 2, 2010
Headliner: Nate Robinson was brought into Boston to be an explosive scorer off the bench, and that's exactly the role he fulfilled for the Celtics in the fourth quarter against Detroit. He made three long 3's in the fourth quarter — two 27-footers, and another from 26 feet out — to get the Celtics out in front and keep them there.
Robinson finished the game 5-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-5 from long range, by far his best shooting performance in a Boston uniform to date.
Unsung Hero: Glen Davis came off the bench and was explosive for the Celtics in the fourth quarter, pouring in six points in the first three minutes to help the Celtics dig out of a hole and pull away with the victory.
Davis' overall stat line wasn't too impressive — he shot just 5-for-14 on the night — but he was a major offensive catalyst for the Celtics in a strong fourth quarter. Davis also added three rebounds, three assists and a nice first-quarter steal against Tayshaun Prince.
Scrub: The Celtics looked to Marquis Daniels to be a boon off the bench as Paul Pierce returned from an injury and perhaps not quite at full strength. Daniels came off the pine and played just over 20 minutes, but he finished 0-for-4 from the floor and scored his only two points on a pair of free throws early in the second quarter.
On the other end, he was decent, making a couple of nice plays defensively to keep Richard Hamilton from lighting up the Celtics in the fourth quarter. But it sure would be nice for the Celtics to see their primary wing scorer on the bench give them some firepower on a night like this.
Turning Point: The Celtics began the fourth quarter trailing the Pistons 75-72, and their starters looked tired and ineffective. Five minutes later, they were in the driver's seat for good — Robinson, Davis and Shelden Williams carried the Celtics to an 89-81 lead with 7:05 remaining, and it was smooth sailing from there.
The rest of the fourth quarter played itself — the starting five returned, rested and fresh, and got key stops in key moments before hitting all their free throws in crunch time. But it was the second unit that really fueled this victory.
Up Next: The Celtics have no time to celebrate snapping their two-game losing streak, as they will fly straight home to meet up with the Charlotte Bobcats at the TD Garden on Wednesday night.
The Bobcats have lost five of their last seven since the All-Star break, but they still look like a fringe playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. This will be a battle of one aging and tired East power against a rising young team with the potential to make some noise down the stretch, which should make for an intriguing matchup.