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How's the knee? Pistons 104 Celtics 92

What Happened

The Pistons used some added motivation, and some curiously effective lineups, to hit the Celtics with a balanced attack. In particular, Tracy McGrady managed to run a very efficient offense, which might explain why everyone seems to have played well.

Of course, Kevin Garnett, after earning three unwarranted superstar calls, filibustered his knee and had to leave this embarrassment. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce threw Tayshaun Prince into a cameraman, and that was okay. You know, the Celtics play hard, so they earn those calls for some reason.

The takeaway here is that the Pistons are capable of playing some very good defense, and there are some guys on the bench who are eager to earn the minutes that the regulars take for granted. By the end, even the refs recognized it, giving the Pistons some narrative calls in the fourth quarter.

Key Players

Tracy McGrady:21 points on 11 shots, including an absolute dagger with three minutes left, to go with eight assists and three steals. Yeah, he bought that pump fake from Pierce in the first quarter, but he set the tone. Stuckey picked the wrong time to be hungover.

Austin Daye: Again, it is preposterous not to play the guy. He's young, and his game is unique. It will take time. Hopefully, someone gets the clue here.

Chris Wilcox: 10 points and eight rebounds on four field goal attempts is pretty good. Being the Pistons most effective player on a per-minute basis is even better.

Key stat

67% shooting from beyond the arc is obviously an outlier, but consistent perimeter offense AND defense is not mistake. Coach Kuester had better figure out what worked here.

Elsewhere in the NBA

Sanity seems to have been restored in OKC. Durant is destroying the Nets with 27 points late in the fourth quarter.

Whatever funk Chauncey Billups was in to start the year seems to have lifted. He has 21 through the third quarter, matching his average over the last five games, and he has been on fire from beyond the arc.

You won't believe this, but the Lakers are actually pretty good. They are presently destroying the Hornets on their home court. I don't get it. Aren't they supposed to be struggling due to esoteric issues that only sportswriters can understand?