The Detroit Pistons have been the Eastern Conference’s surprise team this season, and they proved their worth Monday night at TD Garden.
Thanks to a 31-point night from Tobias Harris, as well as 26 points and 22 (!) rebounds from Andre Drummond, the Pistons muscled out a 118-108 victory over the Boston Celtics.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the second half, as both teams were very efficient from the field. Marcus Smart registered one of his best performances in a Celtics uniform, scoring 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with six assists. Smart led a solid night from Boston’s bench, but the starters’ lackluster evening troubled the team in defeat.
With the win, the Pistons improve to 13-6, while the Celtics fall to 18-4.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
Both teams were testing their luck from beyond the arc in the first quarter, but neither club showcased much efficiency. The Celtics only converted on 1 of their 5 attempts from the 3-point land, while the Pistons posted a 3-for-7 mark in the opening 12 minutes. Detroit, however, did a good job of spreading the ball around. Reggie Jackson led the way with seven first-quarter points, while Avery Bradley and Drummond weren’t far behind with six. Stanley Johnson and Harris contributed five apiece.
Irving (eight points, one assist) and Brown (five points, three rebounds) were strong in the first quarter, which concluded in a 31-23 Pistons lead.
The Celtics didn’t waste much time erasing the deficit, as they opened the second on a 10-2 run to even the score. From there, offense was aplenty, as both teams traded bucket after bucket heading into the break, with Detroit holding a 60-57 lead.
Drummond stuffed the stat sheet in the first half, posting 12 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Harris logged the first-half high with 15 points, while Jackson contributed nine points and four rebounds.
The Celtics were much more efficient from 3-point range in the second, burying 6 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc, including a pair from Smart. Boston as a team shot a respectable 56 percent from the field in the first half, but it was bested by Detroit’s 59-percent mark. The Pistons’ 60 points through two quarters were the most allowed by the C’s in a half this season.
Harris was strong in the first half, but the Pistons forward took his game to another level to start the second half with 14 third-quarter points. But despite Harris’ monster frame, the two teams were deadlocked heading into the fourth quarter at 86-86.
Smart was strong for Boston in the third quarter, scoring eight points, while Tatum and Horford tacked on six and five, respectively. The C’s could have created a bit of a lead heading into the final frame, but poor free-throw shooting plagued the C’s. Boston only hit 6 of 14 attempts from the charity stripe through three quarters.
PISTONS PULL AWAY
The Pistons grew their fourth-quarter lead to as large as six, but Smart evened the score at 97-97 with a 3-pointer at the 6:28 mark in the quarter. Smart drilled another basket from beyond the arc on Boston’s ensuing possession to give the C’s a 100-99 edge.
Detroit wouldn’t waiver, though, as it swelled its lead back to six on a Drummond and-1 dunk with 3:08 left in the fourth. Boston made things interesting with a Smart 3-pointer and Tatum finger-roll layup on back-to-back possessions, but the Pistons remained calm in crunch time and hit all of their free throws down the stretch.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Look out below.
The Celtics return to action Thursday when they will host Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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