Stars making their return against the Detroit Pistons; a tale as old as time. This time around, it was reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart returning to action. Smart had not suited up for the Boston Celtics since Jan. 23. Jayson Tatum was also back in the line-up, after a brief non-Covid related illness, which made him miss last night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, a game in which the Celtics lost in overtime.
Perhaps, instead of resting their stars, Boston was trying to get to the All-Star break on a high note, and that’s exactly what they did, as they eventually cruised to a 127-109 victory.
Early in the second half, it looked like Boston was set to deliver a knockout blow. They were up 19 points, and simply couldn’t miss from three. But Bojan Bogdanovic wouldn’t let Detroit go down without a fight. He scored 14 of his 28 points in the third quarter, mostly off of difficult shots inside the three point line.
Luckily for the Celtics, Tatum was able to suit up tonight. He singlehandedly fended off Detroit’s third quarter barrage, by scoring 24 of Boston’s 31 points in the third quarter. Detroit scored 38 points in the third quarter on 67% shooting, aided by three corner threes from Isaiah Stewart, and trailed the reigning Eastern Conference champs by just 8 points going into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the Pistons, they ran out of steam... again. As has been the case all season, Detroit can’t overcome the massive deficits they regularly find themselves facing. They put themselves in that position with inefficient offense, and early turnovers, which was the case in tonight’s game.
Boston hit a ridiculous 21 threes on 45 attempts (47%). That combined with Tatum’s 38 points and 7 assists was enough to seal the deal, as the Celtics handed Detroit their 44th loss of the season.
Since losses seem nearly inevitable at this point, especially against a team as talented and deep as the Celtics, this game was all about James Wiseman. The former second overall pick from 2020, finally made his debut for the Detroit following his acquisition during last week’s trade deadline. Wiseman came off the bench, near the end of the first quarter, and immediately made his presence felt, as he confidently knocked down a couple of buckets.
Wiseman looked aggressive on offense, and (at times) lost on defense. The former is exactly what Detroit was hoping for, and the latter could be expected seeing how Wiseman was only allowed to participate in team activities within the last 72 hours. Wiseman finished tonight’s game with 11 points on 55% shooting and 5 boards.
One of the main questions following the Wiseman acquisition was, how would Dwane Casey utilize him considering they have a budding star big-man in Jalen Duren? The daunted (possibly haunted) two-big line-up of Duren and Wiseman did not rear it’s head in their first game together. When Duren checked out, Wiseman checked in. Will this continue to be the trend? Or will Detroit get extra spicy as the tank marches on? Only time will tell.
What do you think of James Wiseman’s debut with Detroit?