The Detroit PIstons delivered one of their best efforts of the season, but a brutal third quarter saw them cough up every bit of its 19-point halftime lead, and the Pistons dropped their 28th straight. In the end, the Celtics won 125-119 in overtime.
Cade Cunningham was sparkling early, but he was clearly gassed by midway through the third quarter. He scored 31 points, but only nine came after the first half. Five of those came in what amounted to garbage time during the OT period.
The Pistons played with pace, space, and hit some timely 3s in the first half. They were also able to capitalize on Boston turnovers and cold shooting from the NBA’s best team as it amassed a season-high 21-point lead in the second quarter.
They gave it all away within the first eight minutes of the third quarter. Kristaps Porzingis was abusing smaller players on switches in the post and knocking down wide-open 3s against drop coverage against Detroit’s bigs. He finished with a game-high 35 points and eight rebounds.
The Pistons didn’t give up the fight and fought hard in the fourth quarter to retake and even build on their previous lead. They had a 100-96 lead with 4:41 remaining in regulation, but the Celtics were able to lean on their veterans and the Pistons, simply, could not.
Boston could easily hunt Jaden Ivey by coercing a switch onto Porzingis on the block. Jaden tried to body him up, but Kristaps easily hit the post shot and got the and-one.
An Alec Burks missed 3 then turned into an easy Porzingis 13-footer. The Pistons’ next shots, all misses, were a Burks 3-pointer, an off-balance Burks 3-pointer, a missed Bojan Bogdanovic 3 on a good look, a Cade shot that was blocked, and then a missed Bogdanovic 15-footer on the baseline.
In that time, the Celtics were able to build a 6-point lead after a Tatum layup and Porzingis 3 sent Boston to a six-point lead with just under 2 minutes left.
Ivey scored six straight to tie the game at 106, and the Celtics put the ball in Jayson Tatum’s hands with 9 seconds remaining. Jayson Tatum ISO’d against Cunningham, and Cade played terrific defense. Tatum drove and tried to get Cunningham off balance. He was able to coax a shot toward the rim that Cade blocked, but the officials called a goaltend, saying the ball hit the backboard first. Detroit challenged the call and after a long replay review, the call stood.
The Pistons were able to force overtime after Bogdanovic rebounded and put back in a missed Cade three.
Overtime, though, was nearly all Celtics. Ivey was able to score five more in OT, but fouled out. The Pistons defense had no answer for anything Boston was creating. Kristaps was hitting open jumpers or Boston’s guards were able to bully and cut their way to the rim. \
Cade was mostly invisible because he clearly had no juice left in the tank. Sadly, the Pistons needed Cade to grind out one more amazing period in order to snatch the win away and end this interminable losing streak. He couldn’t do it. Not again.
So the Pistons lost. Again. For the 28th straight game.
The Pistons get to try again at home vs. Toronto for the final game of 2023. Good riddance.