Jaylen Brown balled out again. Jayson Tatum had a career high in assists and Tristan Thompson recorded a double-double.
Still, it came down to the wire for the Boston Celtics against Detroit on Sunday as the Pistons shot over 51% from the field and beyond the arc. Sloppy defense and turnovers didn’t help the Celtics much, either.
With under one minute left, Tatum perfectly dished it out to Brown who was wide open in the corner. He sunk the corner-3 to make it 120-118, and on the Celtics last posession of the game, Tatum drilled a pullup to win the game, 122-120.
Brown finished with a game-high 31 points and four assists but had six turnovers alone.
Tatum had 24 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and a career-best 12 assists. Marcus Smart dropped 17 with eight assists, Theis had 13 points and Tristan Thompson had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double.
For Detroit, Jerami Grant led with 22 points, Svi Mykhailiuk had 15 off the bench as did Derrick Rose, who scored 13 points with four assists.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Daniel Theis
C: Tristan Thompson
STILL SEARCHING FOR STARTER’S DEFENSE
The Celtics were making 3s and shooting well early, but the Pistons had the advantage much of the first quarter.
Thompson battled for offensive rebounds early to help the Celtics keep it close, and he gave his team a 14-12 lead despite a slow start defensively.
Really, almost no defense was being played through much of the first quarter. More than halfway through the frame, Detroit led 22-19 and were shooting 81.8% off 12 attempts before Brad Stevens called a timeout.
Brown came out of the regrouping with great energy to hit a game-tying triple and had 13 points in the first to carry Boston.
And fun fact:
It wasn’t enough, though, as Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 12 points shooting 5-for-6 from the field. But Detroit spread it around quite a bit.
Detroit led Boston 33-31 at the break.
BROWN CARRYING BOSTON ON HIS BACK
Semi Ojeleye made a layup to tie it up, and Tatum hit a 28-foot triple to take a 38-37 lead.
From there, Boston started going hard in the paint with efforts from Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard and Robert Williams.
With seven minutes remaining in the second, Boston took a 47-44 lead for their largest of the game. As good as the offense looked to that point, the defense still left a lot to be desired. That started to change though, Tatum and Brown continued to cook.
Brown scored the Celtics’ last eight points of the quarter for a game-high 22 points at the break. Tatum had 13 points and five assists with three rebounds.
Boston entered the half leading 61-57, outscoring Detroit 30-34 in the second.
CELTICS CAN’T KEEP SEPARATION
It didn’t take long for Josh Jackson to help Detroit erase the four-point deficit and take a one-point lead to open the second half, but a 3-pointer from Tatum stopped the run.
Blake Griffin was hot initially in the third from the perimeter, but the Celtics set off on a small run once they figured out how to get Tatum out of the Piston’s traps with the pick and roll or a pocket pass.
Boston lead by as many as eight points in the frame, but seven (!!!) third-quarter turnovers alone didn’t allow them to maintain that advantage.
Brown finished the quarter with 28 points and three assists. Tatum had 20 points and six assists with five rebounds to that point, and Thompson had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics led 91-88 entering the fourth.
SEMI OJELEYE FOR 3?
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Ojeleye started things off for Boston in the final quarter.
Ojeleye hit another off a nice assist from Tatum to giving him nine points in the first four minutes of the quarter and Boston a 106-100 lead.
But Detroit was hitting its shots too.
Tied up at 113-apiece with under two minutes to play, Theis made a layup, grabbed the defensive board on the other end, and recorded a three-point play in the next sequence to five Boston the lead.
Smart extended it two more with a nice drive, but the Grant-Rose duo didn’t let up as the Pistons cut the lead back to two, and a Mason Plumlee three throw gave Detroit a 118-117 advantage.
Tatum made a great play, dishing it to Brown for a 120-118 lead late in the game.
With the ball and time for one more play in regulation, Tatum hit a 17-foot jumper for the game-winner.
PLAY OF THE GAME
This play is a microcosm of today’s game, in terms of the Celtics offense.
Boston continues its road trip Monday and will face the Toronto Raptors at 7:30 p.m. ET.