Pistons vs. Celtics recap: Detroit wins, 87-77, with clutch defense late

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons beat the Celtics, 87-77, on Sunday night -- but it wasn't pretty with 21 turnovers, 12 missed free throws and too many missed layups to count.

What happened:

The short version? The Pistons won, 87-77, improving to 2-1 on the season. Hooray!

The long(er) version? The Pistons dominated early, leading by as many 15 points. But sloppy play in the second allowed the Celtics to crawl back into the game -- and briefly take back the lead. The Pistons locked down defensively down the stretch, though, picking up two blocks and two steals in the final 65 seconds while scoring the final eight points of the game.

What stood out:

The Pistons scored 54 points in the paint, but only 20 after halftime. Also, the spacing concerns from the offseason raised their ugly head: the Pistons combined for just 2-for-13 from 3-point land.

Who stood out:

Detroit's frontcourt trio of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond tied for the team lead with 15 points apiece. Drummond and Monroe tallied double-doubles with 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

In his season debut, Brandon Jennings scored 14 points with four assists and four steals in 31 minutes. His assist total would look even better if his teammates hadn't missed so many layups. Jennings wore his protective mask for most of the game before ripping it off in the fourth quarter. He already said he hates wearing it, but I'll be shocked if Detroit's training staff allows him to go without when the Pistons host the Pacers on Tuesday.

Bullets:

•  The return of Jennings meant Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was stuck to the bench. Considering how well the rookie played in the first two games, that's pretty annoying. Cheeks doesn't think it's possible to play five guards, but he hinted before the game that KCP might play a little small forward. That didn't happen tonight.

• Also, no Gigi Datome. A few more 2-for-13 nights from 3-point land might have Cheeks reconsidering his rotation.

• The Celtics can't get Rajon Rondo back soon enough: they tallied just five first-half assists on 14 made field goals. Not surprisingly, they shot just 35.9 percent. They tallied 11 on 17, respectively, in the second half, shooting 48.6 percent.

• Don't laugh too hard at Boston: The Pistons tallied just five assists after halftime themselves, shooting 40 percent as a team (14-for-35). Jennings had three of those.

• Here's the box score. Go read what the enemy is saying at CelticsBlog (but be polite! Kill them with kindness!)

• That's all for now. What did you notice?

• OK, one last thing: 45 turnovers in 48 minutes between these two teams. Gross.

GameThread(s) Roll Call:

# Commenter # Comments
1 Mike Payne 98
2 smackdab 71
3 heWizard 69
4 Kriz 66
5 Rusty_Shackleford 59
6 Iron Sheik 50
7 dandresden 50
8 AlaskaLion 44
9 stevenyc 44
10 1298ty 39
11 TDP 37
12 Don Mega-Tron 37
13 JWurm 35
14 Aris Kafadogias 31
15 BigBensFro 31
16 Kevin Sawyer 27
17 Reno09 25
18 Packey 25
19 Jose Valverezias 24
20 jay_uno 22
21 rames 21
22 OK from J 20
23 garrettelliott 20
24 Frankdog 18
25 bugman222 17
26 MrHappyMushroom 16
27 Ra's Head 15
28 NotLikeYoMamma 14
29 bonerici 11
30 JP423 10
31 Jacob30 10
32 Kards 9
33 Matt Watson 9
34 christiaanl 9
35 I Got Munnyz 9
36 valicev1 8
37 IamPAP 8
38 CheerstoLilWayne 7
39 104rog 6
40 freywagg 6
41 alaskanpistonsfan 5
42 J Dre 5
43 Mark Hieftje 4
44 SpursfanSteve 4
45 andyfochtman 4
46 Ron MarsHall 4
47 Cerecyte1 4
48 supraman 3
49 The GIF Oracle 3
50 FlyMonk321 3
51 InLeylandWeTrust 3
52 basanders2021 3
53 Fadel 3
54 Stones1981 3
55 newera2013 3
56 tads 3
57 Lawyer-Up 3
58 gattuso 2
59 brgulker 2
60 -PS- 2
61 Justin Lambregtse 2
62 Goose15 1
63 grantlp13 1
64 V. 1
65 Rotten Atom 1
66 Alex_Be 1
67 CoreyJS 1
68 jonathan.lovelace3 1
69 MSUDersh 1
70 Johnny Quid 1
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