BOSTON-At the trade deadline, the Celtics received the hidden gems of Luigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko from Detroit; tonight, the C’s returned the favor, giving away the game to the Pistons.

After leading for the majority of the game, the Celtics (30-39) struggled down the stretch especially offensively, as the team scored 19 points in the forth quarter and only 9 in overtime. Evan Turner led the Celtics with 23 points, while the rest of the starters Jae Crowder (19), Brandon Bass (13) Tyler Zeller (10), and Avery Bradley (10) all finished in double-figures.

In the victory, Reggie Jackson almost had a triple double, contributing 17 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebonds for the Pistons (24-44). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a game-high 27 points and Andre Drummond had a double-double, grabbing a 22 rebounds and 18 points.

See the full box score here.

EVAN TURNER RUNS THE POINT
With Marcus Smart serving a one-game suspension, Evan Turner was listed as the starting point guard. Turner had a very balanced and proficient performance, finishing with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. The polarizing guard, who Jackie MacMullan brilliantly described on the broadcast as an ‘€œacquired taste,’€ even limited his turnovers, only coughing up the rock twice in 38 minutes. Despite the good performance, Bad-Evan reared his ugly head, as the ball slipped out of his hands on the game-winning attempt at the end of regulation.

JAE CROWDER’€™S EXCELLENT SECOND QUARTER
After missing his first five shots of the game, Jae Crowder decided to attack the rim and ended up having a terrific second quarter. He scored half of the Celtics 24 points, drawing two fouls by making aggressive cuts towards the basket. He went 3 for 4 from the charity stripe and also knocked down an open three.

HACK-A-DRUMMOND WORKS BRIEFLY
In his short career, Andre Drummond has already established himself as one of the worst free-throw shooters in NBA history. Brad Stevens used this to advantage, deciding to foul the big man early and often. The poorly named strategy paid off, as Drummond went 2 for 11 from the charity stripe. Despite his struggles from the line, the Pistons center finished with an impressive 18 points, 22 rebounds, and 4 blocks. The Celtics went away from the strategy in the final frame, but it would not have helped their poor offensive performance.

NO REVENGE FOR GIGI AND JONAS
There was some talk heading into this game that Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko had something to prove against their old team; Especially Datome, who only saw 17 minutes on the floor during his time with the Pistons. Jerebko was maybe trying too hard tonight, only hitting 3 of his 11 shots, although he did contribute 8 rebounds. Datome didn’€™t register on the box score, only playing five minutes.

GERALD WALLACE: ORIGINAL GANGSTA
Playing 12 minutes, Wallace added much needed energy off the bench. On one possession, the OG out-hustled a pair of Pistons to grab two offensive rebounds before finishing with a put-back. Wallace finished with 7 rebounds and 2 points.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

A cheap shot to the groin will cost Marcus Smart – and the Celtics – one game.

A cheap shot to the groin will cost Marcus Smart – and the Celtics – one game.

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended the Celtics point guard for Sunday’s game against the Pistons for a flagrant-2 foul committed in Friday’s loss in San Antonio.

Smart hit Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the groin area midway through the fourth quarter and was automatically ejected.

Smart said after the game that he was trying to rip through a Bonner screen and had accidentally hit him. Video replay clearly shows Smart winding up and punching him as he’s trying to fight through.

This was the second time this month that Smart was ejected for a flagrant foul. With injured guard Isaiah Thomas still out, Phil Pressey is expected to get more playing time.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

It was a wasted trip to the Midwest.

Following on the heels of Wednesday’s 122-118 loss to Oklahoma City, the Celtics came out flat, and a late charge fell short in a 101-89 loss to the Spurs Friday night in San Antonio.

It was a wasted trip to the Midwest.

Following on the heels of Wednesday’s 122-118 loss to Oklahoma City, the Celtics came out flat and a late charge fell short in a 101-89 loss to the Spurs Friday night in San Antonio.

For a complete box score, click here.

But thanks to some help from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics (30-38) remain tied for the eighth and final spot of the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers beat the Pacers, 95-92, in Cleveland, dropping Indiana to 30-38 on the year. Miami won their game, 108-91, over Denver, increasing its lead to two games over the Celtics.

After winning five straight games, the Celtics have lost two straight as they fight desperately for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics host Detroit on Sunday night at 6 p.m. at TD Garden.

ICE COLD START

The Spurs raced out to a 19-4 start and the Celtics never recovered. Two issues plagued the Celtics. After Avery Bradley hit Boston’s first jumper of the game, the Celtics missed six of their next seven. They also committed three turnovers in the first five minutes. The Celtics allowed the Spurs to shoot 60 percent in the first quarter and race out to a 32-19 lead after the first quarter.

MARCUS SMART EJECTED

For a second time this season, Marcus Smart was ejected from a game. He punched Matt Bonner in the crotch trying to fight his way through a screen at the top of the key in the fourth quarter.

BRADLEY BRIGHT SPOT

Avery Bradley led the Celtics early on with 16 points. Bradley scored nine of his 16 points in the first quarter and made half of his shots (7-of-14) on the night.

TURNER GREAT LATE

Evan Turner scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics made their charge.

LATE RUN

Thanks to some poor shot selection and turnovers by the Spurs and some shotmaking by Evan Turner, the Celtics went on a 16-0 run to cut the San Antonio lead down to seven, 91-84, with just over four minutes left. The Celtics held the Spurs without a field goal for over four minutes. A Tony Parker tear drop shot with 3:45 left ended the Celtics’ run and put the Spurs back up, 93-84. Tyler Zeller missed a dunk and Tiago Splitter hit a baseline turnaround with 3:10 left to give the Spurs a double-digit lead again, 95-84. Avery Bradley missed a three and Parker hit a layup with just over two minutes left to give San Antonio a 99-85 lead.

JEREBKO HITS GLASS

Jonas Jerebko helped the rebounding effort, as he hauled in a team-high 12 rebounds.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Thunder scored 40 third-quarter points, and the Celtics never recovered, snapping a five-game win streak with a 122-118 loss in Oklahoma City.

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Thunder scored 40 third-quarter points, and the Celtics never recovered, snapping a five-game win streak with a 122-118 loss in Oklahoma City.

The C’€™s fell to 30-37 on the season, losing a game on the Heat (31-36), who beat the Blazers on Wednesday night. Elsewhere, the Pacers (30-37) fell to the Bulls, the Bucks (34-34) lost to the Spurs, and the Cavaliers beat the Nets (27-39). The Celtics lead the idle Hornets by a half-game and remain tied with Indiana for eighth place, trailing Miami by a game for seventh and Milwaukee by 3.5 games for sixth.

Marcus Smart collected 21 points — including a franchise rookie record seven 3-pointers — to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, leading six Celtics in double figures. Kelly Olynyk (20 points), Brandon Bass (20 points), Avery Bradley (13 points), Tyler Zeller (12 points) and Jae Crowder (11 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers, and Evan Turner chipped in with five steals, six rebounds, eight points and a team-high 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 36 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and five steals, while Enes Kanter added 22 points and 10 rebounds. With the victory, Oklahoma City (38-30) opened up a half-game lead over the Pelicans for eighth place in the Western Conference sans Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.

For a complete box score, click here.

THE RUSSELL WESTBROOK CONUNDRUM

With Bradley, Smart and Phil Pressey all sharing duties, the Celtics did a nice job containing Westbrook in the first quarter, holding the MVP candidate to five points on 1-for-7 shooting. Except, Westbrook’€™s open Thunder teammates scored 23 points on 10-of-14 field goals — aided by six Celtics turnovers — and Oklahoma City took a 28-24 lead after one despite the C’€™s shooting 60 percent in the quarter.

STRETCHING THE DEFENSE

With OKC pairing Kanter and Steven Adams (14 points, 13 rebounds) in the frontcourt, the C’€™s camped Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko beyond the arc, and the stretch forwards made them pay early. Olynyk and Jerebko hit their first three 3-point attempts, leading a 58.3 percent first-halt shooting barrage from the perimeter, but the Celtics couldn’€™t sustain the hot streak while OKC punished them inside.

MARCUS SMART’€™S HOMECOMING

Playing his first game in the state since being drafted out of Oklahoma State this past June, Smart enjoyed quite the homecoming, scoring 14 points (4-6 3P) in the second quarter alone to help the C’€™s take a 57-54 lead into the break. He added four boards, two assists, a steal and one remarkable block in the opening 24 minutes.

NO FREE PASSES

Without Isaiah Thomas (back bruise) careening toward the rim, the Celtics didn’€™t attempt a free throw until midway through the third quarter, when Brandon Bass knocked down a pair of freebies at the 7:04 mark. The C’€™s shot the lights out in the first half, but when the jump shots stopped falling, the Thunder made their run. Even when the Celtics finally attacked the rim and got to the line after halftime, they failed to capitalize, missing five of their 10 third-quarter free throws.

TURD QUARTER

Westbrook emerged in the third, taking over and igniting the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd. He amassed 15 points (3-10 FG, 1-3 3P, 8-10 FT), two assists, two rebounds and two steals in the frame, sparking a 40-point quarter that transformed the C’€™s four-point halftime lead into a 12-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. The Celtics never quit, making a 12-3 run to cut it to a five-point game in the final 2:30, but couldn’€™t make it over the hump once Oklahoma City assumed the lead.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Brad Stevens (right) has coached Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics back into the playoff picture. (Christian Peterson/Getty Images)I loved Doc Rivers.



The bad news: Contrary to popular opinion, the Celtics are not currently in the playoff picture, since as of today they would lose the tiebreaker to both the Pacers and Heat based on their sub-.500 record against Eastern Conference opponents.

The good news: If the Celtics (30-36) have one more win than Charlotte (29-36), Indiana (30-36) and Miami (30-36) when all is said and done, they’€™ll capture the same seventh seed they earned when last they made the playoffs in 2013.

Heck, based on their performance since the NBA trade deadline (10-5, including five straight victories), there’€™s even an outside possibility the red-hot Celtics could catch the reeling sixth-seeded Bucks (34-32), whose four wins in 13 games since trading Brandon Knight have come against the Nuggets, 76ers, Wizards and Magic.

Obviously, that’€™s jumping ahead a bit, so let’€™s step back and take a look at the remaining schedules of the four Eastern Conference teams now tied with 36 losses. 

CELTICS (30-36)

Wednesday: at Thunder (37-30)
Friday: at Spurs (41-24)
Sunday: vs. Pistons (23-43)
Monday: at Nets (27-38)
March 25: vs. Heat (30-36)
March 27: at Knicks (13-53)
March 29: vs. Clippers (42-25)
March 30: at Hornets (29-36)
April 1: vs. Pacers (30-36)
April 3: vs. Bucks (34-32)
April 4: at Raptors (40-27)
April 8: at Pistons (23-43)
April 10: at Cavaliers (43-26)
April 12: vs. Cavaliers (43-26)
April 14: vs. Raptors (40-27)
April 15: at Bucks (34-32)

BY THE NUMBERS: .498 opponents’€™ winning percentage; 9 games vs. teams above .500; 9 road games; 7 games vs. teams below .500; 7 home games; 4 back-to-backs.

PACERS (30-36)

Wednesday: at Bulls (40-28)
Friday: at Cavaliers (43-26)
Saturday: vs. Nets (27-38)
Monday: vs. Rockets (44-22)
March 25: at Wizards (39-28)
March 26: at Bucks (34-32)
March 29: vs. Mavericks (43-25)
March 31: at Nets (27-38)
April 1: at Celtics (30-36)
April 3: vs. Hornets (29-36)
April 5: vs. Heat (30-36)
April 8: at Knicks (13-53)
April 10: at Pistons (23-43)
April 12: vs. Thunder (37-30)
April 14: vs. Wizards (39-28)
April 15: at Grizzlies (47-20)

BY THE NUMBERS: .512 opponents’€™ winning percentage; 9 games vs. teams above .500; 9 road games; 7 games vs. teams below .500; 7 home games; 4 back-to-backs.

HEAT (30-36)

Wednesday: vs. Blazers (44-21)
Friday: vs. Nuggets (26-42)
Sunday: at Thunder (37-30)
Tuesday: at Bucks (34-32)
March 25: at Celtics (30-36)
March 27: at Hawks (53-14)
March 29: vs. Pistons (23-43)
March 31: vs. Spurs (41-24)
April 2: at Cavaliers (43-26)
April 4: at Pistons (23-43)
April 5: at Pacers (30-36)
April 7: vs. Hornets (29-36)
April 9: vs. Bulls (40-28)
April 11: vs. Raptors (40-27)
April 13: vs. Magic (21-47)
April 15: at 76ers (15-52)

BY THE NUMBERS: .496 opponents’€™ winning percentage; 8 games vs. teams above .500; 8 road games; 8 games vs. teams below .500; 8 home games; 2 back-to-backs.

HORNETS (29-36)

Tuesday: at Clippers (42-25)
Friday: at Kings (22-44)
Sunday: at Timberwolves (14-52)
Monday: at Bulls (40-28)
March 25: vs. Nets (27-38)
March 27: at Wizards (39-28)
March 28: vs. Hawks (53-14)
March 30: vs. Celtics (30-36)
April 1: vs. Pistons (23-43)
April 3: at Pacers (30-36)
April 4: vs. 76ers (15-52)
April 7: at Heat (30-36)
April 8: vs. Raptors (40-27)
April 10: at Hawks (53-14)
April 12: at Pistons (23-43)
April 13: vs. Rockets (44-22)
April 15: at Raptors (40-27)

BY THE NUMBERS: .500 opponents’€™ winning percentage; 8 games vs. teams above .500; 10 road games; 9 games vs. teams below .500; 7 home games; 6 back-to-backs.

The Hornets have the toughest slate of that bunch, and the Heat the easiest, but really there isn’€™t all that much separation between these four teams on the schedule. Injuries are forcing all four clubs to shuffle rosters — perhaps none more so than the C’€™s — and yet all four squads own winning records since the NBA All-Star break.

So, what happens if the seventh and/or eighth seeds come down to a tiebreaker? Here’€™s where the teams stand based on the league’€™s two tiebreaking scenarios — settling the score for one seed involving a) two teams, or b) three or more teams.

TWO TEAMS TIED

Head-to-head: Hornets over Celtics (2-1) and Heat (2-1); Pacers over Heat (2-1) and Hornets (2-1); Celtics over Pacers (2-1); Heat over Celtics (2-1).

Win percentage in East: Hornets (.564); Pacers (.550); Heat (.500); Celtics (.462).

Win percentage vs. East teams eligible for playoffs: Hornets (.560); Pacers (.423); Heat (.346); Celtics (.292).

Win percentage vs. West teams eligible for playoffs: Pacers (.167); Celtics (.154); Heat (.154); Hornets (.000).

Point differential: Pacers (+14); Celtics (-48); Hornets (-144); Heat (-154).

As of now, the Celtics would only win a tiebreaker against the Pacers, based on their head-to-head record. However, if they ultimately finish 2-2 against the other three teams, things get worse. The C’€™s currently wouldn’€™t win either the second or third tiebreaker against anybody, due to their sub-par winning percentage in the East.

MORE THAN TWO TEAMS TIED

Head-to-head: Hornets (5-4); Pacers (5-4); Heat (4-5); Celtics (4-5).

Win percentage in East: Hornets (.564); Pacers (.550); Heat (.500); Celtics (.462).

Win percentage vs. East teams eligible for playoffs: Hornets (.560); Pacers (.423); Heat (.346); Celtics (.292).

Point differential: Pacers (+14); Celtics (-48); Hornets (-144); Heat (-154).

Once again, the Celtics, as they stand today, are in serious trouble if they end up tied with more than one team for the final playoff seed. They own the worst combined head-to-head record, worst winning percentage against Eastern Conference opponents and worst win percentage against playoff-eligible teams in the East.

Of course, there’€™s a rather simple solution for the Celtics down the stretch: Win more of their final 16 games than the Heat, Hornets and Pacers. Then, and perhaps only then, they’€™re in, which is probably why the C’€™s aren’€™t scoreboard watching.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss his back injury and also what his short time in Boston has been like. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.