I remarked in the preview that Boston being down Al Horford offered the opportunity for Detroit to inflict some pain. Andre Drummond (19 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks, three steals) happily obliged, and the Pistons defeated Boston by the healthy margin of 113-104. Blake Griffin led the Pistons in scoring with 27, and all five starters scored in double-digits for the Pistons.
That’s a nice segue - the return of Reggie Bullock (15 points, four threes) prompted a change to the starting lineup for Detroit, where Bullock and Luke Kennard (10 points on perfect 4-4 shooting) surrounded the three core starters to help spark the Pistons. Detroit scored 33 first-quarter points, and the offense was flowing - Bullock and Kennard spaced the floor, enabling Blake and Reggie to attack the rim. We even got a first-quarter DUNK from Reggie Jackson:
I still have concerns about this lineup defensively, but this team’s issues aren’t on defense.
In the second quarter, the bench came in, and everything remained fine. Jose Calderon had eight assists in his 24 minutes of play, Langston Galloway scored 14 points (on 13 shots, but who’s counting?) and Jon Leuer filled in capably on a night where he was the main (only, depending on how you feel about Stanley Johnson) big man off the bench due to Zaza Pachulia’s illness.
The Celtics looked like a team on the second game of a back-to-back in the third quarter, needing a personal 6-0 run from Marcus Smart at the end to score 22 points in the period. Between the 9:05 and 3:55 mark of the third, the Celtics scored only four points. Thanks to the new starting lineup, the Pistons managed to score points during that period, and built up a double-digit lead they would use as a cushion for the rest of the night.
Detroit still managed to make it tough at the end, though, with Dwane Casey declining to put Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson in with the rest of the starters for what I can only assume were “defensive purposes.” Calderon played until he fouled out, and Bruce Brown sort of made Kyrie Irving (26 points, 25 shots) work for it. However, the game still felt in peril (with George and Greg making overt references to the collapse in Charlotte earlier this week) until Reggie Bullock hit a wide-open three to stop a 9-0 Boston run:
Andre Drummond then put the cap on with an emphatic transition block of Jayson Tatum:
Detroit eclipsed .500 with this win, and is now 14-13 heading into Monday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.