After the Pistons opened up their first double-digit lead of the second half, coach Brad Stevens turned to his bench players for help but it wasn’t enough to counter Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson combined 54 points as they led the Pistons to a 119-116 win.
After the Pistons opened up a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter — their biggest of the night, Jonas Jerebko’s nine points on three consecutive shots from deep helped the Celtics shorten their deficit to four. But before Jerebko’s last three-pointer, Jackson converted three free throws off of a questionable shooting foul that extended the Pistons lead to seven. In the end, Jackson scored seven more points and Caldwell-Pope added four from the free-throw line in the final minutes for the Pistons.
Isaiah Thomas made a three-pointer in the final seconds that cut the lead to two (118-116). After Jackson was intentionally fouled, he missed his second but without any timeouts remaining Jared Sullinger was forced to heave a desperation shot from the opposite end of the floor in the final 1.7.
The Celtics loss on the second night of a back-to-back on the road for the first time in 11 games.
Thomas tied a career-high 38 points, Sullinger put together a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller scored 12 off the bench.
Caldwell-Pope scored a team-high 31 points, Jackson scored 23 and Andre Dummond (16 points, 12 rebounds) had a double-double for the Pistons.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas
Thomas was the most consistent scorer for the Celtics, and he did it for four quarters. He finished with 38 points on 11-for-20 shooting, six assists and was a plus-12 on the night.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley
Bradley scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. His jump shot looked flat and so did his defense on Pistons guard Caldwell-Pope.
VINE OF THE NIGHT:
WHINE OF THE NIGHT: Personal fouls and timeouts
The Celtics were whistled for 35 fouls. The Pistons shot 74.4 percent from the charity stripe on 32-of-43 shots. The Celtics were responsible for the Hack-a-Drummond — when they intentionally put Andre Drummond on the line for six attempts (3-6), and the intentional fouls at the end of the game but aside from those the Celtics have to play better defense. Although some calls were questionable ones, the Celtics have to find a way to get themselves to the line when their offense is struggling — like it was tonight. The Celtics went 20-for-24 from the line.
Although 1.8 isn’t a lot of time in basketball, the Celtics could have set up a game-tying play at the end if they had one more timeout. Stevens has to do a better job conserving his timeouts to give his young team a chance at the end of games.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 18 turnovers
It seemed like whenever the Pistons were on a run — the Celtics would commit costly turnovers. The C’s forced bad passes, committed offensive fouls and lost the ball at times when they needed to find their offense.
@ OF THE NIGHT: It takes a lot to get Brad Stevens fired up. Some of these calls by the refs was more than enough to get the Celtics coach going