The Pistons are notorious for collapsing late in games, leading to losses instead of wins as well as much frustration from fans and fanalysts alike. On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics exploded in the first quarter, winning the frame forty-two to twenty-three. It looked like Boston was primed and ready to blow Detroit away, making an early statement that if a first-round playoff matchup is in store, Boston won't be going down quietly.
But after the first quarter, the Pistons showed up. The Pistons won each of the next three quarters, including building and maintaining a lead in the fourth. If I were a Celtics fan (gross), I'm sure I would bemoan my squad's collapse and inability to finish the game. But as a Pistons fan, I'd be remiss to not point out that Detroit simply outworked and outplayed Boston in the final thirty-six minutes and earned every bit of this win.
This was an important game for this young team - down big early, on the road, and struggling to close all season. The Pistons succeeded on every front, and that should help build a stronger foundation for the rest of the season.
What Stood Out:
The Pistons closed the game. We have been fairly critical of how the Pistons have handled crunch time, especially in the three games prior to this one. Wednesday's fourth quarter wasn't perfect - there were some defensive lapses and some questionable shot attempts - but the job got done.
Who Stood Out:
Jennings and twenty-eight points and fourteen assists, and Dre had fourteen points and sixteen boards. Again, Jennings wasn't perfect in the fourth quarter. He's still a bit too hero ball for my tastes - he took more shots in the fourth than in any other quarter - but on the other hand, without Jennings clutch three late, the Pistons probably don't leave Boston with a win.
Andre just did what he does, dominating the glass on both ends - eight offensive rebounds and eight defensive rebounds.
Josh Smith also chipped in twenty points, four steals, one block, three assists, and four boards. His shot selection wasn't really bad, but it wasn't great either. Smith took eighteen shots overall, but only six of them came from the paint. I'd like to see that ratio flipped.
- Seven Celtics got into double digit scoring, led by Jared Sullinger with nineteen.
- The Celtics outrebounded the Pistons forty-one to thirty-six.
- Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond had twenty-four of the Pistons' thirty-six rebounds. This isn't yet a trend or a concern, but it might be time for Maurice Cheeks and his staff to preaching that rebounding is a team activity, even when you've got great rebounders up front.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played well. His defense continues to frustrate, and his nine points on seven shots is about as much as he should be shooting at this point in his development.
- The Pistons made free throws - fifteen for twenty for seventy-five percent, significantly better than their season average. This helped them close the game as well.
- The Pistons took twenty-seven three's, which is probably a little bit too much on most nights, but they made ten of them (thirty-seven percent).