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Pistons vs. Celtics: Pistons bow out of playoff race

Celtics keep their playoff hopes alive while mathematically eliminating the Pistons’.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons may have shot 54% for the game last night against the Celtics, including 39% from three, but it wasn't enough to keep the Celtics from blowing them out.

Or, more specifically, to keep Isaiah Thomas from blowing them out.

With the Celtics as one of four teams fighting for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference in the final week of the season, Thomas put his team on his back and carried them for the win. He finished the game with 34 points and 6 assists, his best scoring game of the season.

In the final four minutes of the first quarter, Boston closed an 18-0 run and never looked back.

Greg Monroe didn't show any rust from his time off, putting up an efficient 19 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Jackson also defied the storyline that the two couldn't coexist, scoring 21 points on 58% TS with 15 assists. For the third straight game though, turnovers were an issue for Jackson. He's had 7 or more turnovers in each of the past three games.

Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, and Tayshaun Prince all had pretty lines for the Pistons as well. Drummond had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Meeks scored 13 points with only 4 field goal attempts, and Prince went 7-8 from the field for 15 points.

But efficient scoring wasn't the reason the Pistons went out with a whimper. Turnovers and defense, particularly on Thomas, were the primary problems.

Drummond has been criticized by fans at times for looking disengaged, and Stan Van Gundy seemed to agree last night. He pulled Drummond less than 2 minutes into the second half after giving up an easy drive to Kelly Olynyk. Drummond complained to Van Gundy about being pulled, then seemed to sulk at the end of the bench.

Van Gundy approached Drummond at the end of the bench, and physically led him to the middle. Drummond returned later, and eventually played very well in the second half.

"We had three guys with double-doubles, Jodie doesn't miss a shot, everybody's numbers look good, and you get blown out," Van Gundy said said after the game. "You have to play the game to win, not to get numbers. I think we had a lot of guys get numbers tonight, but we didn't do what it took to win. So I don't think anybody should leave here tonight happy with what they did, and I hope they don't."

But there is one player who an exception could probably be made for.

Tayshaun Prince scored his 10,000th point in a Detroit Pistons uniform last night, making him one of only 8 all time to reach that mark. He joins Pistons legends Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Bill Laimbeer, Richard Hamilton, and Vinnie Johnson.


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