The Boston Celtics entered Saturday’s contest against the Detroit Pistons riding a season-high eight-game win streak, but now will travel back to Boston hoping to start a new one.
The Celtics fell to the Pistons 113-104, but there were a few bright spots at Little Caesars Arena.
Kyrie Irving shined the brightest for the C’s as he continued his stretch of dominance in Detroit. The five-time All-Star torched the Pistons early and often, scoring 17 of his 26 points in the first half. Irving didn’t just fill up the point sheet as he tied for the team-high with eight rebounds, to go along with four assists and three steals.
The 26-year-old has been having his best month of the season in December. Irving is averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.8 boards throughout the month on 47.7 percent shooting.
Irving’s performance wasn’t enough Saturday as the Piston’s took over in the second half.
Boston entered halftime trailing just 57-56 but then couldn’t keep up after the break. Detroit outscored the Celtics 56-48 in the second half on the backs of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
Griffin led the way for Detroit with a game-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Drummond started slow, but came alive in the second half, finishing with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Drummond also recorded five blocks with none bigger than one on a Jayson Tatum layup attempt late in the fourth as Boston was gaining momentum.
The C’s fell behind by as much as 16 in the fourth quarter but continued battling throughout. The Celtics cut the Pistons’ lead to seven with just under one minute left, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens discussed the team’s defense after the game.
“Defensively they hurt us, they could’ve put up more than 11,” Stevens said on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics post game coverage. “They played great, we couldn’t match them shot for shot. The way we were guarding, that’s what we had to do. It wasn’t our best game.”
Even with the loss, Stevens still had some praise for the squad.
“One thing I like about our guys is no matter what, they just keep going after it,” Stevens said.
The Celtics will look to get back in the win column Wednesday night when the Phoenix Suns visit the TD Garden.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Pistons:
— Marcus Smart was solid all-around for Boston on Saturday night
The 24-year-old was the second leading scorer for Boston with season-high 21 points but did much more than score. He tied Irving for the team-lead with eight rebounds and dished out three assists to go along with three steals. Most of Smart’s offense came from beyond-the-arc, where he shot 5-of-7 on the night.
— The Celtics bench had an uncharacteristically sluggish night.
Boston’s bench combined for just 21 points against Detroit with no one scoring in double figures. The Pistons’ bench, on the other hand, contributed 30 points, including 14 from Langston Galloway.
— Boston struggled from deep against the Pistons
On a night in which Smart was solid from 3-point range, the team struggled overall. Boston shot just 9-of-33 from beyond the arc.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports