IN A NUTSHELL
The Celtics’ recent win streak exists in part because of schedule strength. It would be disingenuous to say otherwise. So when the Detroit Pistons came out looking tougher and much more assured than most teams have of late against Boston, you can’t be particularly surprised, especially when you add the factor of this being the second night of a back-to-back. Honestly, it would’ve been understandable—albeit still a bummer—if this had been treated as a scheduled loss of sorts.
It didn’t look like a scheduled loss in the first half, but turned into one about halfway through the third quarter. The Pistons were hungry in the wake of a grueling six-game losing streak, and decided to end it by sending the Celtics home with their first loss in 9 games, 113-104.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- I’d call the whole first half a good thing for Boston, even though it ended with a 57-56 Detroit lead. They punched back with a mini-run whenever Detroit threw a haymaker and were never behind by more than 7 points.
- Kyrie Irving (26-8-4 with 3 steals) played well for the entire game until the result was a foregone conclusion, as did Jayson Tatum.
- Aron Baynes did as much to stop Andre Drummond as possible, looking better than he did last night by a considerable margin.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Know how I said they were never down by any large margin in the first half? Not so at all in the second. Detroit had a 16-point lead at one point, and turned up the intensity to a degree the tired Celtics couldn’t match.
- The Pistons offense is now more contingent on Griffin than any other player, now that he’s been fully integrated into the flow of things for Detroit. If a squad can’t shut him down or shut everyone else down around him, they’re in trouble.
- Boston didn’t defend Griffin well at all, and let him get to the line practically at will during the second half. The Cs also let Detroit role players like Reggie Bullock score at an embarrassing rate.
- Drummond, as per usual, was a massive problem on the boards for the Celtics.
- The reserves had a bad night, including Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Rob Williams.
- Marcus Smart had an excellent night offensively and struggled on the other end, albeit while consistently trying; he tried so hard he got into early foul trouble.
WHAT THE HELL
- Blake Griffin’s beard grosses me out for some reason. It looks like the kind of beard that’s intended to disguise a grotesque chin. Did his chin mutate into a strange being? WHAT IS HE HIDING? We have a right to know…
- Luke Kennard’s existence continues to baffle me.
GREEN FIRE HIGHLIGHTS
Kyrie making the desperation circus shot look easy:
Tatum takes the entire Pistons defense by surprise with a smash off the Kyrie fastbreak and assist: